Lab+Life Scientist July 2015

Page 1


RF Temperature Pressure



july 2015


Professor Patrick Sexton, reflects on a research career in pharmacology.



Few QA/QC labs still cling to the old paper-based notebook systems of the past, but there’s far more to becoming a paperless lab than simply eschewing paper.

21 REVIEW FINDS CRCS VALUABLE BUT IN NEED OF IMPROVEMENT The Miles review of the Cooperative Research Centres has accepted all 18 recommendations.


40 MICROSCOPY AND MOBILE PHONES The functions of the traditional light microscope are being augmented by the mobile phone.

44 PROTECTIVE CAPSULE INSPIRED BY SEASHELLS Scientists have developed a protective capsule which is said to preserve the active biological ingredients needed to create new drugs.

46 THE SKY’S THE LIMIT June 2015 marked a major milestone in the field of astronomy, with construction approval announced for the highly anticipated Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).

28 NEW TOOL SHRINKS BIG DATA Seeing the structure of proteins, is a ‘big’ problem: it requires big science facilities, generates big data and can require big research collaborations.



Disease, diabetes and endocrinology are the central focuses at the AACB’s 2015 conference, which has the major clinical theme of ‘Partnerships in testing’. Cover image: © aliasching/Dollar Photo Club


This issue is available to read and download at |

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 3

Susan Williamson

Professor Patrick Sexton, head of the Drug Discovery Biology theme at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, reflects on a research career in pharmacology and how working within a large research program that encompasses translational drug discovery, drug delivery and drug development has enriched his team’s research.

The pharmaceutical scientist


ab+Life Scientist: What drew you to

study science? Professor Patrick Sexton: I was always interested in maths and biology at school and that drove me to do a science degree at the University of Melbourne, where I also did my postgraduate degree. I majored in pharmacology in my undergraduate degree and after that took up a PhD position at the Department of Medicine at the Austin Hospital. My principal supervisor was Fred Mendelson, a medically trained physician who had trained overseas and come back to Australia to set up his own lab, and Jack Martin, based at the Repatriation General Hospital, was my co-supervisor. L+LS: Was it a good choice to do a PhD in a medical environment? PS: The Austin was a vibrant environment to do a PhD in. The seminars, journal clubs and other activities were done in the context of a large number of physicians together with basic scientists - it was a very good environment to start a research career in. L+LS: How did you come to study G proteincoupled receptors? PS: It began with my PhD project. I investigated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), mainly the calcitonin receptor, and looked at their basic pharmacological characterisation. I was trying to understand more about what they did and where they were distributed.

4 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

face to face

When I began research in this area our

Amylin is co-secreted with insulin in response

understanding of these receptors was relatively

to meal ingestion and helps control glucose levels

limited. We knew they were coupled to G proteins

and prevent hypoglycaemic episodes.

but we didn’t know anything about their structure

The company invited myself and colleagues

and there were no sequences available — looking

to visit and funded a range of our work. It was

up protein sequences in a database is something

a collaborative program and there were three

we take for granted nowadays.

groups involved in the research — one at what was

I looked at the distribution of the calcitonin

Glaxo at the time, one at Amylin and our group.

receptor in the brain and other tissues, including

We also had funding from Glaxo. This was very

the kidney, using what was a relatively new imaging

exciting for a young researcher, and very helpful

technique at the time — in vitro autoradiography.

for me as an early-career scientist, to have a pot of

We cut tissue slices, incubated them with ligands

pharmaceutical money to fund research.

(calcitonin gene-related peptide and calcitonin) and then imaged where the ligand had bound to receptors using X-ray film. Part of that PhD work led to the discovery of a new subtype of GPCR that was eventually recognised as a receptor for the peptide amylin.

The bottom line of that early work was that we didn’t identify a separate protein that could be classified as an amylin receptor. Later on — and this was another exciting

The calcitonin, amylin and related receptors

point in my career — we did work out why this

form part of a subfamily of GPCRs, the family

was the case. We showed that unlike most GPCRs

B receptors, which are mostly receptors that are

the amylin receptor was composed of a G protein-

important for circulating peptide hormones.

coupled receptor protomer and a separate protomer

We also mapped where the calcitonin receptor

that was a single transmembrane spanning protein

was located in the brain and that work has been

that changed the pharmacology of the calcitonin

important in understanding the function of


calcitonin and amylin, such as the control of appetite

L+LS: And the area of allostery — the binding

and where peptides from the peripheral circulation

of molecules at sites other than the endogenous

are likely to bind in the brain.

ligand binding site of a receptor — has become

My research interest then moved more into

a focus for your work?

the molecular understanding of the receptors as I

PS: A lot of my more recent work has been in

moved on in my career.

understanding how family B GPCR receptors work,

I did my postdoc initially at the Repatriation

which extends to what we call allosteric ligands —

General Hospital Heidelberg and then moved with

ligands that can bind to distinct sites to those used

Jack Martin’s group to St Vincent’s Institute where

by the peptides that bind and activate the receptor.

he took up the directorship. I established my own

Almost all small molecule therapeutics for

lab and worked there until the end of 1997 — I was

this class of receptor bind to these topographically

there for almost 10 years.

distinct sites. So understanding this interaction is

Some of the early work I was involved with

key to developing therapeutics and this has been

included purifying and cloning the receptors

a recent focus.

to determine their sequences. Some of this was

L+LS: You are seeking out a mechanistic model

successful, some not.

of these receptors?

L+LS: Can you tell us about some of your career

PS: Yes. A common component to GPCRs is a


seven transmembrane section or core that spans

PS: One career highlight was a consequence of my

the cell membrane. It is through this section of the

PhD work on the novel GPCR subtype.

protein that transmission of the signal from the

Shortly after I finished my PhD, US

© ZSOLNAI GERGELY/Dollar Photo Club

We spent quite a lot of time trying to clone the amylin receptor.

extracellular to intracellular environment occurs.

pharmaceutical company Amylin Pharmaceuticals

The family B receptors have a rather large

made contact. It turned out that the receptor

extracellular domain as well. The endogenous

subtype I had identified was a receptor for a small

peptides or related mimetics tend to be between

peptide called amylin, which was the potential

27 and 50 amino acids in length and they bind to a

therapeutic this company was pursuing.

great extent to this large extracellular component. |

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 5

face to face Susan Williamson

of these lead compounds would be ready to go into clinical trials. L+LS: Do you collaborate with any Australian companies? PS: We have a collaboration that is just finishing with Queensland-based biotech company Alchemia. This work is in the drug discovery area. We were looking at their internal proprietary library to identify whether they had good hits for the family B group of receptors that we work on. We received funding from Alchemia, along with an ARC linkage program. The disease targets for that work were metabolic or lung disease, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We’ve had less direct involvement with local companies at this point in time and that’s at least partly because we have established relationships with large pharmaceutical companies. There are opportunities with biotech in Australia — certainly a range of people at our institute interact with different Australian companies. L+LS: Is the small size of the Australian sector Professor Patrick Sexton about to deliver the keynote lecture at the 2014 Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists annual scientific meeting.

one of the reasons for lack of involvement? PS: I think investment is more problematic in Australia than overseas. Investors in Australia often desire short-term gains rather than medium- or long-term gains, and it is the latter that is required for drug discovery and development. There are venture capital groups that have

This binding or interaction with the receptor

but recently has attracted a lot of interest as

made investments into the sector, but there are

appears to orientate the end of the peptide to the

a therapeutically exploitable area for drug

not many and, to be honest, I don’t know how

transmembrane section causing a conformational


well they’ve fared with their choices.

change in the receptor that drives signalling.

L+LS: Does your work extend to drug discovery?

To have a vibrant industry a degree of private

In general small molecules don’t bind the large

PS: Some of our work includes a large collaborative

sector investment is needed, in addition to what can

extracellular domain of the receptor, they bind into

project with the French pharmaceutical company

be done with government support. The government

pockets in the seven transmembrane core and some

Servier. This is a structured program and the

does fund a range of schemes that support drug

actually bind to intracellular sites and change the

company funds 11 people in our lab — for basic

development programs — the linkage program

receptor response.

research on a range of projects that are very much

with ARC, NHMRC development grants — but

about drug discovery.

this funding is available to progress early-phase

In this way we are gaining mechanistic understanding of the receptor ligand interaction.

One project with Servier was trying to

discoveries to a point where they might have some

L+LS: So the idea is to develop more specific or

understand the differences between some of the

commercial value or to push a partnership looking

cleaner drugs?

drugs they had already discovered, and another

at the basic science aspects of something that might

PS: Yes that’s exactly the point.

two projects have been very early phase in terms

have commercial value.

of target validation in drug discovery research.

L+LS: How did you come to join the Monash

In addition to allosteric drugs, there are drugs

Institute of Pharmaceutical Science?

that can bind to the same receptor but engender

Some of the projects have already moved

different signalling; these can be either classical

into high-throughput screening to identify

PS: After St Vincent’s Institute I moved to the

orthosteric drugs or allosteric drugs. These ‘biased’

compounds that can then be processed into lead

Department of Pharmacology at the University

ligands have the potential to sculpt biological

development and hopefully move into phase 1

of Melbourne.

response to maintain therapeutically relevant

clinical trials.

signalling but reduce or eliminate detrimental

I was there for about three years, after which

We have an extensive amount of preclinical

I moved my research group across to the Florey

work going on but we haven’t gone into the

— my PhD mentor Fred Mendelson was then

It’s relatively new — the concept of bias

clinical setting yet. It would be at least three years

director of the Florey Institute. Our primary focus

has only been studied for a little over 10 years

— assuming everything went well — before any

was neurochemistry, although I’d established


6 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

Centrifuges from Featured Functions on advanced models Fast Cooling

SOFT Start/Stop

Cooling down to 4 째C within 5 min

Minimizing agitation by slow run-up/down

Password Protection

ACC/DEC Rate Control

Ideal for multi-user environments

Setting run-up (9 steps)/ down (10 steps) rates

12 place ce personal microcent microcentrifuge. uge.

Refrigerated microcentrifuge, professional.

Medium capacity (4 x 250 mL) multi-purpose bench top and floor standing centrifuges.

Large capacity (4 x 1400 mL) low speed, refrigerated floor standing centrifuge.

Program Run

Imbalance Cutoff

Number of customprogrammed conditions

Imbalance self-recognition of for safer operation

Rotor ID

Short Spin (Pulse)

Automatic rotor recognition for safer operation

24 place microcentrifuge.

36 place microcentrifuge.

One-touch quick spin

Soft Touch Lid Closure Provides ergonomic convenience

Time Mode Selection Allows exact time counting at set speed

Centrifuge with fixed angle rotor. Ideal for routine ne clinical work.

Compact multi-purpose centrifuge. Ideal for clinics, cell biology gy and food laboratories.

Large capacity (4 x 750 mL) multi-purpose bench top centrifuges.

Super speed, refrigerated floor standing centrifuge.

For a competitive quote please contact | 1800 00 84 53

face to face Susan Williamson

Sometimes it makes more sense for us to develop new areas of expertise internally, but in many cases it makes more sense to establish collaborations to get those studies done.

strong collaborations with Arthur Christopoulos

groupings here at MIPS is very important for that.

We are also generating animal models in

when I was at the University of Melbourne and we

We can integrate with medicinal chemistry and get

which receptor proteins have been changed to

continued to collaborate.

new compounds made, we can integrate with the

alter signalling, based on our molecular studies, to

In 2006 the opportunity arose for Arthur and

drug delivery people about the best way to deliver

work out what are physiological or therapeutically

me to move our groups to Monash University and

drugs, we can integrate with the drug candidate

important signalling pathways. Through these animal

join another researcher, Roger Summers, who

optimisation group and measure the level of drugs

models we can ask questions about the physiology

was also active in the GPCR space. We moved to

getting into different compartments — this puts

of signal transduction — what it means in terms of

the Department of Pharmacology at the Clayton

us in quite a powerful position with respect to

physiological response for a particular signalling


developing a preclinical understanding of drugs

pathway of a particular receptor and whether there are

as well as mechanism of action.

benefits to developing drugs with different profiles.

Science (MIPS) was beginning to be established

L+LS: How do you maintain a competitive edge

L+LS: Does collaboration play a big role in your

around this time and there was an initial

in your research?


realignment of groups into thematic research

PS: We are always looking at the next challenges to

PS: We have a lot of collaborations with researchers

areas from what used to be departments. There

ensure we remain competitive and at the leading

around the world and others at Monash and across

was a group around drug delivery and dynamics,

edge of the field.


The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical

one on medicinal chemistry and another focused

For example, as noted above, one of the

For example, people working in

on drug candidate optimisation, but what they

things the broader group has been involved with

electrophysiology, animal models of metabolic

didn’t have was strong biology groups.

here is the phenomenon of ligand-directed signal

disease, chemistry, GPCR structural studies,

We were collaborating with people at the

bias. At a conceptual level it gives you an ability

NMR studies — I could keep going for a while on

Faculty of Pharmacy, particularly in medicinal

to separate on-target therapeutic effects from


chemistry, and it was partly as a consequence of

on-target side effects. We have molecules that

that that we ended up joining MIPS.

appear to do just that.

In order to do enriched science you need to be able to access the expertise and the technologies

After discussions with Professor Bill Charman,

One target class that we are interested in as a

that sit across broad areas — there’s no way we can

director of MIPS, about the opportunities that

bigger group, for example, is adenosine receptors,

set up and maintain everything so we concentrate

would exist if we moved, they fitted out new

in work that is led by Lauren May, Paul White and

on our core areas of expertise. Sometimes it makes

floors for us and we moved into new labs and

Arthur Christopoulos.

more sense for us to develop new areas of expertise

offices in 2009.

The activation of adenosine receptors is

internally, but in many cases it makes more sense to

L+LS: Was it a productive move?

highly cardio-protective; however, this also

establish collaborations to get those studies done.

PS: Yes, of course. Working at MIPS has provided

causes profound bradycardia (slow heart rate)

L+LS: Do you still get your hands dirty in the lab?

an enriched environment for us to work in

and basically people can die from cardiac arrest

PS: I don’t get out a pipette and squirt drugs into

and has facilitated strong collaborations across

at cardioprotective doses. So a dose that is high

tubes any more — even though I quite like doing

medicinal chemistry, monitoring drug levels in

enough to have a strong therapeutic effect is limited

benchwork. I don’t know where anything is in the

animal models, and drug delivery, for example,

by the side effects.

lab so it can take me a long time to find things and

We published a paper in Proceedings of the

then because I have meetings on a regular basis it

It has also given us the capacity to recruit both

National Academy of Sciences at the end of last

is very difficult to manage an experiment. So what

young and senior research scientists and develop

year in which we identified a molecule that could

could take somebody who is constantly in the

a critical mass for the GPCR biology space that

give equivalent cardioprotection but didn’t have

laboratory a couple of hours would take me a day.

we work in. There are now about 90 people who

the bradycardia side effect.

I did try probably four or five years ago but it was

nanoparticle delivery.

work in this space within drug discovery biology,

That work was a proof in principle that

which is the theme that I head within the institute.

on-target therapeutic effects could be separated

just wasn’t practical. I am involved in the research direction, decision-

One of the advantages we have here at MIPS

from on-target side effects by sculpting

making around projects, reviewing data, writing

is that we can go from the molecular, for example,

conformations that the receptor could sample

manuscripts and that side of the research.

with high-resolution crystal structures, all the way

and thus send signals down a subset of pathways

Much of my time is directing and reviewing

through to late-stage preclinical testing in animal

and not to others. This is a major area of work that

research, writing papers, writing grants — too much

models of disease. The integration with other

we are pursuing.

time writing grants.

8 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |


Largest ever study into gender stereotypes in science ©

GSK granted $1 million for advanced manufacturing project Healthcare company GSK Australia has received a $1 million grant through the federal government’s Manufacturing Transition Programme. The funding will support GSK’s advanced manufacturing expansion plans at its Boronia site in Melbourne’s outer-eastern suburbs. The company will expand the site into a full-scale facility for the production of biologicals in ‘blow-fillseal’ (BFS) packaging. The project will result in the facility being at the forefront of commercialising this state-of-the-art technology, which will further GSK’s leading position as a manufacturer of sterile liquid pharmaceutical products. Boronia Site Director Dave Morley said the grant will allow GSK’s technical experts to continue to enhance BFS technologies and applications. He stated, “This grant will enable GSK to continue exploring the development of cost-efficient medicines which will not only benefit patients, but also help support the Australian manufacturing sector. “GSK looks forward to working further in collaboration with government to build Australia’s pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities, strengthen Australian manufacturing industry amidst a competitive global market and support innovative companies like GSK which strive to provide Australian patients with access to affordable, next-generation medicines,” Morley said.

A study involving 350,000 people, from 66 nations, has found that the stereotypical association of men (rather than women) with science is prevalent across the world. The study was conducted by Northwestern University through a website called Project Implicit, which asked participants to rate how much they associated science with males or females. Another measure assessed how quickly they associated science words such as ‘math’ and ‘physics’ with male words such as ‘boy’ and ‘man’. Neither measure asked whether participants thought men or women were more competent in science. Stereotypes were found to be strong in nations such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, which are ironically known for having strived for gender equity. “In fact,” said lead author David I Miller, “Scandinavian nations generally had stronger stereotypes than the US.” Miller explained that the results made sense when the team looked closer at who pursued science in these nations. He noted, “Dutch men outnumbered Dutch women by nearly four to one among both science majors and employed researchers. The strong stereotypes in the Netherlands, therefore, reflect the reality of male dominance in science there.” Gender-science stereotypes were typically weaker in nations with more female science majors and researchers - although they did persist in nations such as Argentina and Bulgaria, where women make up roughly half of science majors in universities and employed researchers. Research suggests that experiences in university may be one key to changing genderscience biases. According to study co-author Alice H Eagly, “Stereotypes should erode more quickly for individuals who see many female science majors in their classes, for instance.” Science instruction might help reduce gender-science stereotypes by engaging students in analysing varied examples of female scientists, added study co-author Marcia C Linn. She said students often struggle to integrate messages about success in science with their gender and academic identities, citing a recent study in Frontiers in Psychology. “Educators should present examples beyond Marie Curie to help shape students’ beliefs about who pursues science,” she said. “Students reconsider who pursues science when they can compare examples of female scientists and reflect on their beliefs.” Eagly said the study’s results suggest gender-science stereotypes should slowly weaken as people see more women in science. She stated, “Changing these persistent beliefs likely requires seeing female scientists across diverse sources such as news articles, television shows and textbooks.” The study has been published online, along with an interactive table providing comprehensive rankings for all 66 nations.

10 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

Eppendorf Xplorer® plus With additional functions

Simply Better Pipetting! Eppendorf Xplorer® and Eppendorf Xplorer® plus—the electronic pipettes People who give 100 % every day deserve the best equipment. The electronic pipettes Eppendorf Xplorer and Xplorer plus were specially designed for high professional standards to provide optimal support for you in your work

> Intuitive handling: Selection dial and multi-function rocker > Optimal ergonomics: Eppendorf PhysioCare Concept ® > High reproducibility: Spring loaded tip cone and individual adjustment > NEW: Eppendorf Xplorer plus! Eppendorf®, Eppendorf PhysioCare Concept®, Eppendorf Xplorer® and Eppendorf Xplorer® plus and the Eppendorf logo are registered trademarks of Eppendorf AG, Germany. All rights reserved, including graphics and images. Copyright © 2015 by Eppendorf AG, Germany.

movers&shakers © Glade

New urine testing method to improve disease detection Researchers from Clemson University ©

have developed a new urine testing

Immune signals can predict cancer spread Researchers from La Trobe University’s

method that is said to reduce costs, achieve faster results, lower the volume of fluid needed and remove the need for invasive blood tests. Professor Ken Marcus explained that the problem with testing urine is that it’s awash in salt, meaning it can be tricky to isolate the proteins that act as biomarkers. In a study published in the journal Proteomics - Clinical Applications, Professor Marcus and his students added capillary-channelled polymer fibres - to micropipette tips. They then passed urine samples through the tubes by spinning them in a centrifuge for 30 seconds, before running de-ionised water through the tubes to wash off salt and other contaminants. Proteins are hydrophobic, so they remained stuck to the fibres. The team extracted the

Cancer Microenvironment and

proteins by running a solvent through the tubes in the centrifuge for 30 seconds. The researchers

Immunology laboratory, led by Dr Belinda

were left with purified proteins that could be stored in a plastic vial and refrigerated.

Parker, have discovered that the key to effective breast cancer treatment may lie in predicting the path the cancer plans to take.

The team was able to extract 12 samples in about five minutes, limited only by centrifuge capacity. “Urine is more important than most biomarker researchers realise,” Gao wrote.

The team found that aggressive cancer cells are able to switch off immune signals in order to remain undetected in the body. As they remain hidden, the cells are free to spread — they can move quickly from the breast or prostate to the bones and other organs without the body being aware it needs to fight back. “We’ve been trying to determine whether a patient is more likely to develop spread to distant tissues or if they should receive

In Vitro Technologies partners with Novus Biologicals in ANZ In Vitro Technologies has been announced as the distributor for Novus Biologicals in Australia and New Zealand as of 1 July 2015. Novus Biologicals, a Bio-Techne brand, is committed to providing researchers with a

therapies which could switch such immune

comprehensive range of high-quality antibodies. The company’s aim is to provide quality tools

signals back on,” Dr Parker said.

to accelerate the bioscience research community.

She explained that patients with aggressive triple-negative breast cancer don’t have

It has been said that the partnership will enable increased efficiencies through consolidation of all Bio-Techne’s consumable products through one channel, In Vitro Technologies. Users

many treatment options, because they can’t

can purchase Novus Biologicals, R&D

receive targeted therapies that are currently

Systems, Tocris and Boston Biochem

available for other breast cancer patients.

products all from one place.

However, by looking at the immune

In Vitro Technologies says its

signals in the cancers of each particular

extensive life science portfolio

patient, “we can actually predict who is likely

provides the company with the

to get spread throughout down the track”,

technical expertise to empower

Dr Parker said. She added that the team

users through the evolution of their

found a similar mechanism happening in

research. Users are encouraged to talk

prostate cancer.

to one of the company’s applications

“When people talk about cancer and

specialised product managers and

finding new therapies, what they’re

build a customised solution from

forgetting is: can we work out who should be

its cell biology portfolio, including

spared therapy?” Dr Parker said.

brands such as ATCC, HyClone,

“We feel something will be implemented in the next five years.”

12 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015

Falcon and Corning in addition to the Bio-Techne range. |

Trish Meek, Director of Product Strategy, Thermo Fisher Scientific

The drive for connected labs in pharmaceutical QA/QC Few QA/QC labs still cling to the old paper-based notebook systems of the past, but there’s far more to becoming a paperless lab than simply eschewing paper.

14 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

Š yuu/Dollar Photo Club

QA/QC labs and smart infrastructure equals end-to-end quality by design

going paperless


he paperless lab has been discussed for

the past 15-20 years but it is finally happening, and nowhere is this more evident than inside quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) laboratories. To be successful in eschewing paper, labs must adopt a smart infrastructure that drives quality, not only in the lab, but throughout the organisation. An integrated informatics solution is the engine that drives quality product release and a culture of continual process improvement. However, Gartner analyst Michael Shanler has observed that currently many labs “are, for the most part, disconnected”. In his recent report, ‘Product innovation requires laboratory informatics systems to

will continue to be safe and effective and perform

analytical testing is critical to a good scientific

transcend phases’, Shanler recommended that

as described in the label.” (Janet Woodcock, MD)

process. Lab managers can then be certain that

manufacturers “prioritise end-to-end informatics

Uncompromising quality is essential to any

all of their results are a true assessment of final

investments and align metrics for innovation,

pharmaceutical company. Informatics plays a

domain expertise, operational efficiencies and

critical role in ensuring that organisations realise the

An SDMS lets you integrate instruments across


improved product quality and operational efficiency

the lab and centralise data capture, allowing for

that adherence to QbD principles provides.

long-term data archiving but, more importantly,

The move to a more connected laboratory is driven by both the productivity drivers

product quality.

data visualisation from the archive — all accessed

Shanler describes and significant technology

Today’s informatics infrastructure

from the LIMS. An SDMS archives the original


QA/QC laboratories need a tightly controlled

raw data files from the instrument along with a

process and well-managed laboratory to drive

normalised representation in XML, without the

Quality by design

predictive analytics and to prevent substandard

need to restore the data to the original instrument

In 2004, the FDA introduced Quality by Design

products before they occur. An end-to-end

workstation or install the instrument software on

(QbD) in ‘Pharmaceutical cGMPs for the 21st

informatics solution warns the organisation

every computer. The real scientific data and the

Century - A Risk-Based Approach’. While this

before non-conformances occur by monitoring

results gleaned from it are a critical part of QbD.

concept is not new to many industries, this was

critical product attributes creating a proactive

The final product specification is determined by

the first attempt to apply these principles to the

versus reactive environment. Laboratories address

comparing the analytical results to determine

pharmaceutical industry. QbD is built on the

these needs through the use of several systems:

which formulation and process parameters yield

concept that well-understood products and

Lab Execution Systems (LES), Scientific Data

the best product.

processes are more efficient and produce higher

Management Systems (SMDS) and Laboratory

quality products resulting in less product non-

Information Management Systems (LIMS).

As part of a paperless lab environment, an SDMS integrated with the LIMS reduces paperwork,

conformance. The FDA’s goal was to improve

LES has become a critical component of today’s

manual review time and data transcription, which

pharmaceutical companies’ productivity, to ensure

paperless lab ensuring that quality processes are

improves efficiency, productivity, consistency and

patient safety and to prevent drug shortages in the

followed in the laboratory and that the methods

quality while reducing costs dramatically. SDMS

marketplace. The quote below, pulled from a 2012

built on QbD principles are followed in day-to-day

also provides secure access to archived files for as

FDA presentation on the pharmaceutical quality

laboratory operations. LES drives users through any

long as necessary and enables more efficient and

system, makes this point succinctly:

laboratory procedure in a stepwise fashion. This

defensible reporting to regulatory authorities.

“We rely upon the manufacturing controls

provides technicians with the direction they need to

LIMS remains a critical part of any

and standards to ensure that time and time again,

execute processes safely, and in a consistent manner.

pharmaceutical manufacturing organisation’s

lot after lot, year after year the same clinical profile

It also assures laboratory management that good

infrastructure. Today’s LIMS goes far beyond just

will be delivered because the product will be the

laboratory practices are used and that SOPs are

the management of samples, tests and results. It

same in its quality… We have to think of the

being followed by experienced and newly trained

also provides resource management, allowing

primary customers as people consuming that

laboratory personnel. Maintaining a consistent

organisations to forecast fewer sample volume and

medicine and we have to think of the statute and

approach to activities like sample preparation,

resource needs. It provides dashboard views that

what we are guaranteeing in there, that the drug

instrument calibration and maintenance, and

allow organisations to see how their lab is operating |

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 15

going paperless Trish Meek, Director of Product Strategy, Thermo Fisher Scientific

and identify any data that is trending towards warning or failure limits. These lab management activities are essential, but organisations also need to be able to drive the day-to-day operations of the laboratory as well. Having a smart infrastructure built on a stateof-the-art informatics solution at its core enables another critical benefit in the lab — automation. Even smart instruments must undergo regular performance verification. And how often this is done depends on many factors, including the frequency of use. Because instrument failure — or having a system go out of specification — can negatively impact quality, production or compliance down the road, any risk is unacceptable. A LIMS can save considerable time helping labs adhere to precise rules and requirements, automating critical procedures on predefined schedules. When all systems are aligned, the convergence of people, processes and technology is transformative. Problems arise when these systems aren’t fully integrated and these disparate

The ability to manage the entire process in a tightly integrated solution, one that functions as a single piece of software, dramatically streamlines laboratory operations while minimising the cost of ownership, implementation, validation and ongoing maintenance.

systems become out of sync. At a macro level, breakdowns occur at three key points: data capture, data transcription and data management. Put another way, the key to an efficient lab that

of ownership, implementation, validation and


delivers uncompromising quality is having smart

ongoing maintenance.

In many organisations, a LIMS is a standalone

instruments within a smart infrastructure. This

An example of this is Thermo Fisher Scientific’s

investment, managing workflow and sample

starts with SOPs for highly standardised methods

SampleManager LIMS, which includes built-in

testing and generating appropriate reports. If the

and processes, which are handled by the LES, and

functionality for LIMS, LES and SDMS as well

lab needs additional software, such as an ELN or

includes raw instrument data generated by the

as integration technologies. What’s more, when

SDMS, those systems are then implemented and

analytical instruments used in those experiments,

labs plan for such seamless integration it enables

sometimes, but not always, integrated with the

all of which is handled capably by the SDMS.

lab managers to codify a ‘do it right every time’

LIMS so that lab operations are more streamlined

What lab managers really want is a truly

process approach, which is in alignment with

and data is easier to manage.

connected system that provides lab management,

QbD processes, providing the transparency

In a QA/QC lab, however, a LIMS such

drives lab operations and integrates all of the data-

necessary to identify and remove non-value-add

as SampleManager that is pre-built with LES

generating sources, and ties all that data together

steps, while lowering the cost of training new

and SDMS functionality delivers end-to-end

in one centralised location. A modern LIMS needs

staff. With LES functionality available as part of

workflow and data capture that is literally

to be a complete informatics infrastructure by

a LIMS implementation, SOPs and methods are

designed for quality. The benefits of having all

providing a LIMS, SDMS and LES in one.

automatically established electronically so that

these capabilities resident in a single system are

for any lab personnel, new or seasoned, the LIMS

myriad, starting with lower total cost of ownership,

acts as their workflow, manual and constant guide.

ease of training and administration, streamlined

Today’s paperless lab can more aptly be called an

It’s easy to see the LIMS, LES, SDMS ‘stack’

compliance and better overall quality control.

integrated lab. The trinity of LIMS/LES/SDMS

as a lab-centric view of pharmaceutical business,

And all of this is possible across vast geographies

enables lab managers to achieve full instrument

but that would be a mistake. The ability to run

or contractual partnerships, all of which can be

integration, manage their methods and workflows,

efficient labs and protect the brand by safeguarding

managed holistically.

retrieve and archive any kind of raw laboratory data

product quality are both enterprise-level concerns.

Organisations that haven’t done so already

and export those results across the organisation to

As such, the LIMS needs to be fully integrated with

need to make this year a major inflection point for

ERP systems, for example — all in whatever format

ERP systems: in fact, many work requests coming

laboratory technology, especially within the QA/

is required by recipients.

into QA/QC laboratories are actually initiated in

QC function. After all, the evidence is stacking

The ability to manage the entire process in a

a manufacturer’s ERP system, which for many

up that the costs of inaction clearly outweigh the

tightly integrated solution, one that functions as a

companies is the bridge between its manufacturing

investment that is required for change.

single piece of software, dramatically streamlines

execution system (MES) and other systems such

laboratory operations while minimising the cost

as the LIMS.

Achieving much-anticipated integration

16 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015

Thermo Fisher Scientific |


The BioProcessing Network would like to extend an invitation to the Lab+Life Sciences readership to attend this year’s annual conference. The Bioprocessing Network was founded 9 years ago and was established to provide a technical forum for industry and researchers from the Biotechnology and Bioprocessing sectors. This, the ninth annual conference, is expected to be better than ever with a wide array of presentations representing the diversity of bioprocessing applications including bio-therapeutics, bio-fuels and food processing. The meeting will highlight new research, emerging technologies, case studies, analytical, optimisation, scale-up, quality, regulatory and commercial considerations in the broad field of bioprocessing. The conference provides delegates with the opportunity to build networks, hear the latest research developments as well as the new technology being developed by suppliers to this key translational research capability. The conference is also a forum for early career researchers and students to meet with industry leaders from across the spectrum of the BioProcessing industry. We look forward to welcoming you to this exciting conference and hope to see you there. For more information, to register and to become a member, please visit

what’s new

Safety fuses for compressed air applications Protect-Air HoseGuard safety fuses offer simple and efficient protection to pneumatic systems in the event of a broken compressed

Benchtop centrifuges

air hose or pipe. They immediately shut

The Gyrozen 1580 Series multipurpose, large-capacity centrifuges are

off the air supply should the volume of air

designed for flexible and large-volume working laboratories. Available in

exceed a set value.

refrigerated and non-refrigerated models with a maximum speed of 15,000

If the air consumption exceeds the set

rpm and capacity of 4 x 750 mL, and complemented by a large assortment

value - such as when a compressed air line

of fixed-angle and swing-out rotors/buckets/adaptors and carriers, the series

is severed - an internal piston instantly shuts

will perform numerous centrifugation techniques.

off the main flow. An integral bleed hole al-

The refrigerated 1580R features Fast Cooling technology and is capable

lows some air to flow through. This enables

of reaching 4°C in 5 min for fast processing of temperature-sensitive sam-

the line pressure to automatically reset the

ples. The model also has the compressor-off function when the lid is open,

fuse once the main break is repaired.

minimising unnecessary cooling and frosting.

The safety fuses are available in aluminium

With an intuitive control interface, the numeric input buttons allow easy

and, on special order, 316L stainless steel.

setting and editing of running conditions. The selectable time mode of ‘At

They are suitable for any application where

Set Speed’ activates the running time only when the set speed is reached.

compressed air is used, including manufac-

There is a separate ‘Pulse’ key for quick spins. Flexibility enables the user

turing facilities, mining, the chemical and

to change parameters during a run or select a program from the 100-pro-

pharmaceutical industries, machinery hire,

gram memory. For program parameter security, select the key lock function.

fuel station air hoses, trade show venues, automotive workshops and cleanrooms. The safety fuses meet OSHA and MSHA requirements and are CE compliant to help

Motorised electronic lid locking ensures smooth lid closure with minimal effort. This is backed up by lid drop protection, avoiding lid mechanism repairs. Bio-Strategy Pty Ltd

Australian managers comply with Workplace Health and Safety Act directives. They comply with EN ISO 4414-11.2010-§ Failure of hose assemblies and plastic piping: When failure of a hose assembly or plastic piping constitutes a whiplash hazard, it shall be restrained or shielded

Flow cytometer

by suitable means.

The CytoFLEX system brings easily upgradeable detection

Compressed Air Australia Pty Ltd

capabilities for up to three lasers and 13-colour research flow

cytometry right on the benchtop. Providing quality and performance at any configuration, the system provides powerful sensitivity and resolution for both simple and challenging applications. The product is said to deliver and surpasses capabilities expected in toptier analysers, with good performance and nanoparticle resolution. Beckman Coulter Australia

18 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

what’s new

Assay kit for measuring cellular calcineurin Calcineurin is a eukaryotic Ca2+ and calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine protein phosphatase. It activates the NFAT transcription factor, stimulating the T-cell response through IL-2 expression. Calcineurin is involved in immune cell signalling and is a target for inhibitors, such as everolimus, which are used in heart transplantation to prevent rejection. Enzo Life Sciences provides a complete colorimetric assay kit for measuring cellular calcineurin (PP2B) phosphatase activity.

Backlit keyboard Interworld Electronics has released the SLK-101C backlit keyboard. Designed for easy cleaning, the product features an integrated QuickLock key to disable the keyboard functions during cleaning procedures. The unit is housed in a lightweight ABS polycarbonate case with an industrial silicone rubber keypad. It is fully sealed and meets IP65 specifications, making the keyboard resistant to splashing, hose-directed and submerged water; bleach, alcohol and hospital-grade disinfectants; corrosive, abrasive, acidic and alkaline substances; and dirt, dust, sand and other airborne debris. Capable of operating in temperatures ranging from

It employs a convenient 96-well plate format with all reagents necessary for measuring calcineurin phosphatase activity in tissue/cellular extracts. Human recombinant calcineurin is included as a positive control. The RII phosphopeptide substrate supplied with the kit is claimed to be the most efficient and outstanding peptide substrate known for calcineurin. The detection of free-phosphate released is based on the Malachite green assay and provides a sensitive and safe non-radioactive assay with convenient one-step detection. Sapphire Bioscience

-40 to +70°C and featuring 101 green LED backlit keys, the product is suitable for use in areas with dim or minimal lighting. Typical applications include laboratory and medical solutions; food and beverage processing plants; vehicles; forklifts; material handling; and other environments where a rugged, lightweight, compact keyboard is a necessity. An optional magnetic mount is available for mobile applications, while a USB interface allows the keyboard to be used with all modern computer systems. Interworld Electronics and Computer Industries

Compact automated DNA/RNA isolation The chemagic Prepito-D is based on proven technology from chemagen for magnetic particle separation and represents the top quality sample preparation system now available in a benchtop format. It utilises many years of experience in automated nucleic acid isolation gained with the high-throughput instrument chemagic MSMI. In combination with the chemagic kits, it delivers high-yield and high-purity DNA/RNA and ensures the success of a downstream application. This innovative instrument realises cost-effectiveness through automated dispensing of buffers into standard plastic devices instead of using expensive prefilled cartridges. It includes barcode reading to provide comfort and to support the highest quality assurance demands. Processing time is as short as 30 min for 1-12 samples per batch and hands-on time is minimal. The chemagic Prepito-D achieves magnetic separation by disposable sleeve covered metal rods that become magnetised by an external magnet and that are immersed into the buffers. To enable the often complicated re-suspension step of magnetic beads in wash or elution buffers, the magnet can be switched off. Re-suspension is then realised by rotation of the rods guaranteeing the efficient, complete and smooth re-suspension of the bead pellet. This normally difficult step becomes quick and thorough, resulting in isolation products with high yields and purities. PerkinElmer Pty Ltd

20 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

CRCs Susan Williamson

Review finds CRCs valuable


but in need of improvement

The Miles review of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) has been handed down and the Minister for Industry and Science, Ian Macfarlane, has accepted all 18 recommendations.


to include a business proposal with objectives such as research commercialisation potential and intellectual property goals. • Implement the Cooperative Research Centre

awyer and former chair of Innovation

Projects (CRC-P) - this is a new simplified

Australia, David Miles, was appointed by the

model for CRCs that will run alongside the

government to conduct the review in September 2014.

current model over a shorter time frame

The review, Growth through Innovation and

(3 years maximum) with a smaller budget

Collaboration, found the CRC Program a valuable

to encourage the involvement of small and

scheme that could be improved by being more

medium-sized companies.

commercially focused and aligned the program

• Improve efficiency - this includes a range of

with the recently announced Industry Growth

measures such as conducting regular reviews

Centres Initiative.

to assess whether CRCs are meeting goals,

There are currently 35 active CRCs that

streamlining the application procedure and

collaborate across a broad range of areas, from

structuring CRCs as companies limited by

poultry and pork to Antarctic climate and


ecosystems, cell therapy manufacturing to invasive

• Focus on the five growth sectors announced

animals and bushfire. CRCs typically involve

in the government’s Industry Innovation and

medium- to long-term collaborations (10-15 years)

Competitive Agenda and prioritise funding for

that bring private companies, universities and the

CRCs contributing to these sectors - in October

community together.

2014 the government committed $188.5 million

The main recommendations of the Miles review were:

in funding to the Industry Growth Centres for five key areas over the next four years: advanced

• Put industry front and centre - this includes

manufacturing, food and agribusiness, medical

limiting CRC funding to a maximum of 10

technologies and pharmaceuticals, mining, and

years and revising the CRC application process

energy resources. |

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 21


Although CRCs will be aligned with Growth Centres, the review states that CRCs in other research areas will not be excluded from funding. However, another recommendation of the review is that the “public good” funding stream be discontinued. This funding stream

CRCs typically involve medium- to long-term collaborations (10-15 years) that bring private companies, universities and the community together.

was usually given to CRCs conducting social or environmental research that delivered a “broader benefit to the community and society as a whole”. The CRC Association voiced concerns about the possible exclusion of non-commercial CRCs as well as the 10-year limit on funding of a CRC. “There are a lot of situations where huge

enormous economic, social and environmental

Dr Megan Clark, Dr Michele Allan and Chief

economic issues are at stake but the CRC

consequences at the same time. We would hate

Scientist Professor Ian Chubb will implement the

itself might not be commercial,” said the CEO

to think a CRC operating in that area is excluded

recommendations of the review and the newly

of the CRC Association, Dr Tony Peacock.

in the future.”

proposed CRC Projects, or CRC-Ps.

“For example, community resilience and

A new CRC Advisory Committee chaired

recovery from natural disasters might have

by business leader Philip Clark and including

A new funding round is likely to commence towards the end of 2015.

Microbial tests Touch-screen evaporator The Series 3 HT evaporator range, developed by Genevac, offers features and functionality that provide consistent highquality results, good sample protection, flexibility for multiple applications, robust build quality, ease of use, rapid highthroughput results and low maintenance. Incorporating a high-performance vacuum pump, the touch-screen technology and sleek ergonomic design are said to make optimising evaporation processes effortless. Intuitive touch-screen controls enhances monitoring and review of the whole evaporation process. For popular solvent removal protocols, preset ‘Press & Go’ methods make operation easy and productive - even for occasional users. Simplified manual and automatic programming mean even complex multistage evaporation methods can be set up and run quickly and easily. Incorporating an integrated -75°C condenser with auto defrost and drain facilities, the compact evaporators are easy to maintain and economical on bench space. A front opening enables easy access - the evaporators feature a 6-place rotor which accepts Genevac’s wide range of sample holders. Available in HT-12 and HT-6 configurations, Genevac advanced technological capabilities including Dri-Pure anti-bumping, automatic end-of-run monitoring and LyoSpeed fast lyophilisation are included as standard. Additional options include HCl resistance, Inert Gas Purge and EXALT controlled crystallisation. Scitek Australia Pty Ltd

22 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015

Compact Dry microbial tests are simple to prepare and interpret, with a broad range of applications. The tests detect and quantify microbiological organisms in environmental samples, process materials and finished products. They feature a streamlined workflow with easy colony enumeration. The tests are available for coliform, E. coli, aerobic counts, yeast and mould. The protocol is straightforward, with minimal training required for microbiology teams. Samples are inoculated onto sample-ready plates, incubated and then any colonies are counted. This claims to provide an accurate result with minimal work. The design simplifies workflow by allowing test films to be stacked as they are inoculated. This frees up bench space and eliminates any wait time between inoculation and incubation. The tests don’t require a ‘spreader’ and there is no gelling or set-up time, making them easy to handle. As they come stuck in lots of four plates, they can be used for dilution work. Designed with the user in mind, the product offers advantages such as visual clarity and easy enumeration. Each test plate can be stored at room temperature, so there is no need for storage refrigerators. The tests have been validated through the AOAC Research Institute. Arrow Scientific |

what’s new

Pressurised gas cylinder storage The Düperthal Supreme line safety storage cabinets are suitable for the storage, use and emptying of pressurised gas cylinders. The line features fire resistance of 90 min for a temperature increase of 50 K, measured at the neck of the gas cylinder. The optimised interior height enables comfort during installation and operation of the gas cylinder fittings. The integrated installation rails are height-adjustable for convenience. Pressurised gas cylinders can be firmly secured by means of an integrated cylinder holder with retaining belts. Pipes and cables can be directly laid from the gas fitting through the cabinet ceiling to the outside. With fire resistance of 90 min, the Type G90 range can prevent the spread of a fire within the laboratory and potentially save lives, allowing staff to be evacuated and firefighters to tend to the hazard. Constructed from high-quality, powder-coated sheet steel, the storage cabinets boast smooth cabinet surfaces with no protruding hinges or covers. Gas regulators can be fitted inside the cabinets, providing ease of use. The units also come with extraction vents to allow connection to exterior fans, for safe venting of dangerous gases. Laboratory Systems Group

Low-input NGS library preparation The PureGenome Low Input NGS Library Construction Kit streamlines the process of generating indexed or barcoded libraries for Illumina HiSeq sequencing from low amounts of input DNA (from 50 pg to 1 ng). The kit is suitable for applications such as ChIP-Seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next-generation sequencing), as well as other sequencing applications where input DNA is limited. To achieve a high level of sensitivity, the kit utilises technology that adds adapters to sheared genomic DNA with ultrahigh efficiency. This methodology enables the previous limits of NGS library construction to be reduced to below 1 ng. The approach greatly simplifies NGS library construction, enabling the construction of instrument-ready singleplex or multiplex libraries in 2 h. Compared to conventional approaches that require DNA isolation between protocol steps, the process occurs in a single tube and does not require any in-process DNA isolation steps. Once library construction is complete, DNA purification and size selection is performed using the Agencourt AMPure XP beads provided with the kit. Merck Millipore

Mini bioreactor and 5 L Erlenmeyer flask Corning has released a mini bioreactor and 5 L Erlenmeyer flask, expanding the company’s product range for suspension cell culture. The Corning mini bioreactor is suitable for high-throughput process optimisation for suspension cell culture. Applications include cell line development, clone selection, media optimisation and recombinant protein development. The bioreactor consists of a 50 mL centrifuge tube with a vented cap. The polypropylene tube includes a large marking spot to clearly identify tube contents and experimental parameters. The polypropylene cap contains four vents with a hydrophobic membrane to provide gas exchange. Mini bioreactors come sterile, non-pyrogenic and RNase/DNase-free. The Corning 5 L Erlenmeyer flask is designed to help scale up suspension culture with space efficiency in mind. The flasks are sterile and ready to use, suitable for shaker culture applications and storage. Vessels are constructed from polycarbonate that is free of heavy metals. The USP Class VI material provides good optical clarity and mechanical strength. Flasks are available in baffled or plain bottom with moulded-in graduations for accuracy. A large polypropylene vented cap is included for continuous gas exchange ensuring sterility and to prevent leakage. Flasks are certified non-pyrogenic and RNase/DNase-free with a sterility assurance level (SAL) of 10 -6. The 5 L flask extends the company’s Erlenmeyer range from 125 mL through to 5 L. Corning International Inc.

24 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |


Intrinsic factors include population differences in average body weight and genetics. Extrinsic factors include exposure to environmental factors such as diet and concomitant medications. These factors can influence drug concentrations and consequently the efficacy and safety profiles observed. “If a particular ethnic group has higher concentrations at the same dose of a drug, an amplified response to the drug is possible, including side effects,” said Dr Gross. “Alternatively the concentrations may be low and the desired clinical benefit may not be achieved. Medical practice differences can also be important. During an ethnic sensitivity assessment each investigational compound is profiled on a case-by-case basis for a particular indication and ethnic group.”

ETHNIC DIVERSITY AND GLOBAL DRUG DEVELOPMENT A ‘one size fits all’ approach to drug dosing may not be appropriate for all new drugs in development. For some drugs, including treatments for cancer, inter-ethnic differences in drug response have been identified. Ethnicity may therefore be one factor to consider when tailoring drug doses to individual patients. Interethnic differences in response can also add complexity to the evaluation of the results of global drug development programmes. Ongoing research by GSK’s Ethnopharmacology Group led by Dr Annette Gross is investigating the potential for inter-ethnic differences in response to new medicines being developed by GSK R&D. This research considers the entire spectrum of diversity in the family of man but with a focus on North East Asian populations. This has relevance to all patients of Asian ancestry whether living in Asia or Australia. Dr Gross is the Director, Ethnopharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology Modelling and Simulation (CPMS) in Quantitative Sciences at GSK R&D. Her team is based in Sydney and facilitates the registration of GSK drugs in diverse ethnic groups beyond Europe and North America. They assess the potential for inter-ethnic differences in the efficacy and safety of drugs in development with a focus on patients in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. Multi–regional clinical trials are the corner stone of drug development in 2015 and include

26 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015

patients from different countries and ethnic groups. Dr Gross says Phase III studies are increasingly enrolling patients from Asia, the Middle East and Latin America and therefore there is a growing ethnic diversity of the patients included in clinical trials. “It’s important to assess the potential for interethnic differences in drug efficacy and safety,” said Dr Gross. “For clinical studies submitted to the US FDA, the ancestry and ethnicity of all subjects studied is reported. Major results are compared across requested population subgroups. If consistent efficacy and safety profiles are not observed, drug doses may need to be tailored to a patient’s ethnicity. ” There are already examples of different doses being recommended for patients based on their ethnic background. The recommended starting dose of rosuvastatin, used to decrease cholesterol levels, in Asian patients is half the starting dose recommended in Western patients. “The ICH E5 guideline provides a framework for the consideration of ethnicity in drug development. This introduces the concept of an ethnic sensitivity assessment and discusses the range of intrinsic and extrinsic ethnic factors which can potentially contribute to inter-ethnic differences in drug response and how it is measured,” said Dr Gross.

Dr Gross’ team contributes to decisions concerning drug development strategies, the design of studies in specific ethnic groups and the evaluation of the results of global studies to understand whether ethnicity is an important contributor to variation in drug response. They are also currently supporting GSK initiatives to promote research into non-communicable diseases in African populations. GSK is committed to R&D both globally and in Australia. As part of this commitment, in Australia GSK offers a grant of $80,000 per year through The GSK Award for Research Excellence. “It’s inspiring to be an Australian team working for a global enterprise and contributing to the development of new medicines,” said Dr Gross. “It’s our goal to ensure GSK medicines will be used optimally in all patients and all populations.” Research teams like Dr Gross’ are playing a key role in changing the ‘one size fits all’ approach to drug development. This contribution of ethnic diversity to drug response will ultimately inform the quality use of medicines in all multi-ethnic populations, including Australia. Article provided by GlaxoSmithKline. For more information visit |

The Power of Science Cryo Storage High Throughput


Cell Culture

Molecular Biology Centrifugation

Liquid Handling

Microbiology Immunology

Exclusive Australian Distributor

ABN 79 007 196 581

Sales 03 9457 6277 Freecall 1800 626 369 Website Supplier of quality products to clinical pathology, research and life science markets

New tool shrinks big data

Scientists find a way to go back and improve past scientific results

© Kasia Biel/Dollar Photo Club

Understanding how our biology works at the atomic scale is a key to understanding and treating disease. But seeing the structure of proteins, the body’s microscopic machines, is a ‘big’ problem: it requires big science facilities, generates big data - enough to fill tens of thousands of DVDs - and can require big research collaborations.

28 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

data handling


ow, a team led by Stanford

Some biological experiments at SLAC’s LCLS

Department of Structural Biology at the Stanford

scientists has created software that tackles the big

have consumed millions of samples in the form of

School of Medicine and chair of the photon

data problem for X-ray laser experiments at the

microscopic crystallised biomolecules, produced

science faculty at SLAC, who also guided Prime’s

Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator

loads of data and required a lot of computing power


Laboratory. The program allows researchers to tease

and data analysis. Because of this complexity, LCLS

“It restricted a large number of experiments

out more details while using far fewer samples and

experiments often include dozens of collaborators

from even being attempted. With Prime, you

less data and time. It can also be used to breathe

from research centres around the globe, including

don’t need as much redundant data,” Weis said,

new life into old data by reanalysing and improving

scientists with data expertise.

which should prove useful for studying membrane

results from past experiments at the Linac Coherent

By applying Prime to earlier LCLS results,

proteins that are popular targets for new drug

Light Source (LCLS) X-ray free-electron laser, a

researchers produced a better 3D map of the

development, for example, but can be challenging

DOE Office of Science User Facility.

density of electrons in myoglobin, a protein present

to produce in large quantities.

The tool, which will become publicly available,

in muscle tissue. These maps allow researchers to

The practice of reanalysing old data with new

works by analysing partial, X-ray-produced images of

determine the position of individual atoms in a

techniques has gained momentum across many

crystallised protein structures, known as diffraction

protein. Also, they produced a higher-quality map

fields with the increasing supply of big data and

patterns, that might otherwise be discarded and

of a bacterial enzyme using a randomly selected

computing power. Reanalysis has been particularly

comparing them with known data to fill in the

test batch of just 100 diffraction images from a

popular in the field of particle physics, where

blanks and produce a more complete picture of these

full data set.

experiments can produce massive data sets and

biomolecules. When applied to a whole set of data, this can reveal new structural details.

Prime, which stands for ‘post-refinement and

virtual ‘needles in the haystack’, in the form of rare

merging’, could allow researchers to compress

particle events, can be the key to new discoveries.

“We have reduced the required amount of

some experiments that used to take several days

Prime’s creators were inspired by a data-

diffraction data that’s needed to get a clearer

into hours or even minutes, greatly expanding

processing technique for diffraction data

picture of crystal structures and the time it takes

the capacity for biological studies at LCLS

developed in the 1970s for X-ray sources called

to get a full structure of a biomolecule,” said Axel

while reducing the data deluge. It could make

synchrotrons. It allowed researchers to map

Brunger, professor and chair of Molecular and

experiments more accessible to researchers who

the structure of hard-to-study virus samples by

Cellular Physiology at Stanford and a member of

otherwise lack the special expertise to analyse and

compiling and analysing a collection of incomplete

the photon science faculty at SLAC, who helped to

interpret LCLS results and consume gigabytes

diffraction data sets from individual crystals.

create the new software tool, called Prime.

rather than terabytes, or thousands of gigabytes,

Those partial data sets were compared to other

of data.

data sets in order to obtain more complete data

“This is especially important because LCLS

and refine the results.

is in such high demand,” he added, as fewer than

“Some LCLS experiments had required a

one in four experimental proposals at LCLS can

tremendous amount of sample and that was a

“Even though the principal ideas were

be approved.

huge limitation,” said William Weis, chair of the

developed in the ’70s, this particular application required us to rewrite everything,” Brunger said, because of the unique properties of LCLS. In many biomolecular crystal experiments at LCLS, for example, the crystals are tumbling randomly when hit by X-rays, rather than individually and precisely rotated in the X-rays as they are at synchrotrons. Brunger and Weis said several teams have already expressed interest in reanalysing past diffraction data from LCLS experiments with Prime, which they said could lead to new structural insights. In addition to Stanford and SLAC, researchers participating in the development of Prime were also from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Stanford, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Coherent X-ray Imaging (CXI) experimental station at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser, shown here, is specially designed for protein crystallography experiments. A new software tool, called Prime, is designed to reanalyse and improve LCLS crystallography results. (Image credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) |

and Janelia Research Campus. The work was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the US Department of Energy.

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 29

what’s new

UV-VIS spectrophotometer tometer from Jasco is a general-

Assays for model organism genomes

purpose instrument suitable for

Bio-Rad Laboratories has launched

routine, QC and research appli-

predesigned PrimePCR Assays for six

cations. It features a rugged and

of the most common model organism

compact design, good optical

genomes used for gene expression

performance (190 to 1100 nm),

analysis: rhesus monkey, zebrafish,

The V-730 UV-Vis Spectropho-

high-speed scanning (up to 8000 nm/min) and a wide range of sampling accessories.

yeast, cow, rabbit and pig.

The choice of two intuitive interfaces allows even first-time users to collect data with

Assay validation is one of the most

confidence. The system is operated using either a PC with Spectra Manager II software

important steps in qPCR but is some-

or via an intelligent Remote Module (iRM), with a wide colour LCD touch screen which

times overlooked because researchers

has built-in application programs. The data can be saved to a USB for further process-

may be unaware of its importance in

ing on a PC.

generating accurate results. In addition,

Features for simplicity and ease of use include the IQ Accessory function for automatic

validating assays can be laborious and

accessory recognition and IQ Start for immediate start of registered data collection ap-

time-consuming, especially when assays

plications when conducting routine measurements. The Jasco V-730Bio model has built-in

do not work and need to be redesigned

bioanalytical application programs, including protein/nucleic acid measurement; temperature

and reordered.

ramping/DNA melting analysis; kinetics measurement/analysis; and a quantitative protein

Bio-Rad’s assays are fully validated in wet labs or in silico using the same al-

analysis program with six different calibration methods installed. A full complement of sampling accessories, including automatic cell changers and

gorithms and design rules. Performance

temperature control systems, is available to optimise the product for specific applications.

is assured and the raw validation data

ATA Scientific Pty Ltd

is available to users. Researchers can

use the assays to follow industry best practices known as MIQE (minimum information for publication of quantitative real-time PCR experiments). The assays are available in SYBR Green- and probe-based formats for a wide range of targets; as PreAmp assays for preamplification; and as control assays and templates. The company also added more than 1000 predesigned, wet-lab validated disease and pathway PrimePCR Panels for the rat genome to the existing library of

Safety eye glasses

20,000 fully validated PrimePCR rat

LLG has updated its safety eye glasses with technical and aesthetic improve-

genome assays for qPCR.

ments. Functional and modern, the safety eye glasses are panoramic, giving

Bio-Rad Laboratories Pty Ltd

good field of vision in many situations. They also now feature an AF+ (anti-fog

+) coating, giving users a greater temperature range, and an AS+ (anti-scratch +) coating giving a long life span to the eye glasses. The safety protection eye glasses feature rubber-tipped arms for comfortable use over long periods. They also feature adjustability in length, inclination of the side arms and total adaptability of the nose-pad, allow a high degree of customisation. This ensures every user is comfortable in the eye glasses, especially long-term users. Available in green and pink, the safety glasses can be used in a large variety of applications, including in the lab and out in the field. They are CE approved to EN166 and EN170 and have protection against UV 400. LabFriend

30 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |



Introducing the Science Next Collaborative

In order to empower the latest generation of scientists to better commercialise their research, Sigma-Aldrich has spearheaded a new initiative that forges a dynamic partnership between industry and academia. A meeting of minds Earlier this year, Sigma-Aldrich convened seven of Australia’s top scientists as part of a Think Tank group to focus on a pressing problem in the life sciences industry, and to brainstorm on how they might go about remedying it. Specifically, how could SigmaAldrich and academia join forces to better enable Australian scientists, especially earlyand mid-career researchers (EMCRs), to successfully translate their research through to commercialisation? All involved in the initiative agree this is an important concern. “A thorough examination of the Australian scientific research sector uncovered that many researchers are struggling to achieve the final steps in their research continuum:

successful commercialisation,” said Reich Webber-Montenegro, Director – Marketing, Inside Sales, and Shared Services, Sigma Aldrich Oceania. “It’s true,” agrees Think Tank member and Macquarie University Professor Mark Baker. “Innovation and commercialisation is a bit like snakes and ladders – ten steps forwards and two steps back.” Enter Sigma-Aldrich’s Science Next Collaborative (SNC). An Australian first in industry-led initiatives, the SNC brings together leading Australian scientists to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and ideas, and create educational resources and best practice models for commercialisation. SNC Think Tank member and Associate Professor Derek Richard of Queensland University of Technology, highlighted the initiative’s importance. “It’s so difficult for young researchers to take their discoveries through to commercialisation, possibly due to a lack of experience in intellectual property protection, market research,

lodging patents and gaining working capital, which are all fundamental elements in the commercialisation of research,” he said. “So we wanted to look at ways to help change that.”

From research to realisation The goal of the SNC Think Tank is simple to state but complex to achieve. How could they pool their combined experience to discuss how industry and academia might join forces to better empower EMCRs in navigating the path to secure economic returns for their scientific discoveries? It was vital to all those involved that something tangible arose out of the SNC and the Think Tank. “No one wanted it to be just a collection of old scientists sitting in a room talking about how things have gone wrong,” said Professor Peter Currie of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and Think Tank member. “We had to come up with concrete measures to make the pathway to innovation both in industry and academia easier for our young scientists.”

“If only the Science Next Collaborative had arrived 10-15 years ago in Australia, it would have made a real difference to my own commercial pathway.” Associate Professor Derek Richard of Queensland University of Technology

Since the SNC’s launch, the Think Tank has been focused on producing a joint positioning paper which both captures the current situation and key challenges, and also proposes potential solutions. For example, just as research funding is in decline, Australian universities and research institutes are producing more EMCRs than there are academic tenure positions available. However, the SNC Positioning Paper suggests one way to manage this issue is by developing programs that train EMCRs in how to better transition their research to have a commercial prospect. It also identified a need to encourage entrepreneurialism in order to move away from the risk-averse culture that currently stifles commercial research output – one way being the adoption of various proposed best-practice models from overseas, currently exemplified by the model of the UK’s Medical Research Council – Technology which works to identify, evaluate and then champion the best up-andcoming research and technology. Additionally, the SNC positioning paper points out the inherent value in industry-led innovation centres, ongoing partnerships between academia and industry (such as the SNC), and PhD scholarships whereby future EMCRs might spend part of their academic institutional study “embedded” within the fold of a commercial sponsor.

From white paper to way forward Needless to say, the scientists involved were all enthusiastic about the SNC’s early results. “Being involved in this initiative is critically important,” said Professor Currie. “A partnership between industry and academia is perhaps the only real way we’re going to get consensus about what needs to be done in the innovation sector, and also help involve major stakeholders like government and universities about policies and procedures that could be put in place.”

Back row (left to right): Associate Professor Derek Richard (QUT), Professor Peter Currie (Monash University), Professor Mark Baker (Macquarie University), Professor John Carver (ANU). Front row (left to right): Reich Webber-Montenegro (Director - Marketing, Inside Sales & Shared Services Oceania, Sigma-Aldrich), Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre)

The SNC Think Tank members Professor Mark Baker President, Human Proteome Organisation, Professor of Proteomics & Biochemistry, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Macquarie University Professor John Carver Director of the Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University Professor Peter Currie Deputy Director, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University Professor David James Professor in the School of Molecular Bioscience, University of Sydney

Professor John Carver of the Australian National University, another Think Tank member, has similar views. “What’s got me really excited about this program is that I think it’s the first time any company in Australia has really put their hand out to academia to try and build bridges, and Sigma-Aldrich is showing great innovation in doing so.” Assoc. Professor Richard concurs: “If only the Science Next Collaborative had arrived 10-15 years ago in Australia, it would have made a real difference to my own commercial pathway.”

SNC Forums To build on the discussion and debate raised in the SNC Positioning Paper, and to deliver additional concrete educational activities and resources, a series of Science Next Collaborative Forums will be held in selected cities this

Associate Professor Derek Richard Principal Research Fellow Faculty of Health, Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences Queensland University Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson Head of Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Professor Deborah White Member of the Centre for Cancer Biology, the Centre for Personalised Cancer Medicine and a Professor of both Medicine and Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide

year. The Forums will involve the Think Tank members as well as other speakers, who will be invited to showcase new progressive strategies and best-practice models and case studies on how to successfully bridge the gap along the commercialisation continuum. In the words of Ms Webber-Montenegro, the future looks bright. “By launching the SNC, Sigma-Aldrich is playing a pivotal role in establishing dialogue and relationships across the industry, and we are eager to see its positive impact within the scientific community,” she said. “We’re not only going to be talking about the problem – we will be delivering real tools in order to help the solution come alive.” To download the SNC Positioning Paper and learn more about the upcoming Forums, visit

Exploring the moral minefield of hyperkalaemia or why you should attend the AACB’s conference

Disease, diabetes and endocrinology are the central focuses at the AACB’s 2015 conference, which has the major clinical theme of ‘Partnerships in testing’.

34 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015


To demonstrate the AACB partnership with the three associations, two primary prominent clinicians from Sydney will be Clinical Co-chairs at the ASM: Associate Professor Steve Twigg or the first time the Australasian

PhD, FRACP, who is an endocrinologist and

Association of Clinical Biochemists’ conference will

the medical head of Endocrinology Research

have a diabetes feature day and an endocrine feature

Laboratories at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

day where leading experts from Australian Diabetes

and the University of Sydney, past president of

Society (ADS), Australian Diabetes Educators

Australian Diabetes Society (2008–2010) and

Association (ADEA) and the Endocrine Society

Associate Professor Rory Clifton Bligh PhD,

of Australia (ESA) will be giving presentations.

FRACP, who is also an endocrinologist and

Day 3 has a part clinical theme of ‘Bone health’.

conjoint associate professor in Medicine at |


LC-MS makes him an invaluable contact to advise

neuropeptide function; and Prof David Kennaway

Australasian laboratories moving in this direction.

from Adelaide on neuro-metabolic rhythms that underscore health and are disrupted in many

Diabetes feature day

chronic diseases.

The opening plenary is a comprehensive and vigorous three-way presentation of HbA1c for

Bone health day

diagnosis by AACB luminaries Graham Jones and

The RCPA-QAP update and QAP Patient

Chris Florkowski with the state of the union reports,

Comments Program proceed on Day 3 where we are

and the ADS and ADIPS chair Aidan McElduff,

privileged to have A/Prof Graham Jones delivering

who has spoken strongly on HbA1c in Australia,

the APFCB travelling lecture. In a shorter program

Europe and at the ADA in the US.

on bone health there are symposia on laboratory

The diabetes program is condensed in one

testing by Dr Ee Mun Lim from Perth, the role of

day with a clinical symposium on advances in the

FGF 23 by co-chair A/Prof Rory Clifton Bligh,

understanding of complications and a detailed

and feature speaker Arthur Conigrave, Associate

“disease mechanisms and research” symposium.

Professor in Medical Biochemistry and Metabolic

Prof Richard MacIsaac, professor and director

Medicine at the University of Sydney, whose lab

of Endocrinology and Diabetes at St Vincent’s

has studied the biochemistry of the calcium-sensing

Hospital and the University of Melbourne, will

receptor and responses to micronutrients in the diet.

engage A/Prof Graham Jones in a quasi-debate

The afternoon symposium will be on vitamin

about “retiring microalbumin” from routine

D. Michael Wright will advise labs on the


implementation of vitamin D analysis by LCMS


in routine testing. This is followed by a “special

the University of Sydney and Staff Specialist in

Endocrine feature day

request for clarity on the deluge of vitamin D

Day 2 has an endocrine disease focus with the

literature” to two Australian vitamin D experts (Prof

keynote address on phaeochromocytoma by Prof

Howard Morris and Prof Chris Florkowski) who

Graeme Eisenhofer. The afternoon plenary experts

will advise on how we make sense of the current

are Michael Stowasser to give the aldosterone

frenzy of interest in vitamin D and explaining the

counterpoint to the Eisenhofer address and Prof

true direction in the science of vitamin D.

Ken Ho, who will deliver a frank appraisal on

To complete the ASM Prof Tony Badrick will

adequacy of current laboratory tests for pituitary

conduct the first ‘Hypothetical’ at AACB. This event

disease. A/Prof Ann McCormack, who leads

is a special treat for delegates — in true Geoffrey

the Hormones and Cancer group at the Garvan

Robertson style, Tony will take the audience

Institute of Medical Research and St Vincent’s

through one of the most challenging and stressful

Hospital, Sydney, and the Sydney Pituitary

scenarios faced by all laboratories in the modern

Collaborative Group, will focus on cortisol assays

era: what to do with a hyperkalaemia in the dead of

and how assay performance directly impacts on

night. He will be fearless in the challenges he directs

monitoring of Cushing’s patients.

to our ‘live’ panel of experts and he will demand

Endocrinology at Royal North Shore Hospital,

During the ESA feature day there will be nine

answers where answers don’t exist. For interstate

Sydney, with primary interests in thyroid cancer

speakers including Prof Carolyn Sue, Director of

visitors, make sure you book a later flight home

and metabolic bone disease research.

Neurogenetics at Royal North Shore Hospital,

so that you do not miss the ‘moral minefield of

The keynote speaker and David Curnow

University of Sydney, and Director of the National

hyperkalaemia’ at the Sydney ASM.

Lecturer for 2015 is Professor Graeme Eisenhofer

Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research, who will

from the University Hospital Dresden, where he

speak on her experience with FGF 21 testing and

AACB 53rd Annual Scientific Conference

is the coordinator of a Clinical Research Unit

importance as an emerging marker of metabolic

15–17 September 2015

focusing on disorders of adrenal function. Prof

status. Invited speakers are A/Prof Anju Johan

ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

Eisenhofer’s earlier substantial work at the NIH

from Monash, who set up Australia’s first non-


put plasma free metanephrines at the forefront

fertility-based PCOS centre; Prof Iain Clarke also


of adrenal investigation and his expertise in

from Monash, who is the Australian expert on |

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 35

what’s new

ICP-MS With the introduction of the PlasmaQuant MS, Analytik Jena has extended its portfolio with an ICP-MS. The mass spectrometer, with a free-running 27 MHz solid-state RF generator for plasma generation, handles organic matrices without changing the torch configuration. The highly efficient RF generator produces a robust, balanced plasma with an argon consumption rate of less than 10 L/min plasma coolant gas, effectively reducing argon consumption by half compared to a conventional ICP-MS. The Eco Plasma is said to conserve resources and reduce running costs without sacrificing the performance of the ICP-MS. The system’s powerful plasma is suitable for the analysis of liquid samples, although its strength is shown in the analysis of single particles or dry aerosol - eg, in combination with laser ablation sample introduction. Other features include: neutral plasma for low kinetic energy spread of the analyte ions; efficient decomposition and ionisation of high solid matrices; variable plasma power between 0.3 and 1.6 kW; and an aerosol dilution option for high matrix samples. MEP Instruments Pty Limited

C18 columns Phenomenex introduces 2.6 and 1.7 µm EVO C18 particle sizes, expanding the company’s Kinetex core-shell column family. The Kinetex EVO C18 columns offer good peak shape for bases, 100% aqueous stability and rugged pH stability from one to 12 by incorporating an organo-silica grafting process that utilises uniform, stabilising ethane cross-linking. The product delivers the advantages of core-shell technology at low, neutral and high pH ranges, making it a good addition to any lab’s current reversed phase column portfolio. The smaller particle sizes extend the versatility and scalability of this media, which was introduced initially in 5 µm particles for HPLC and preparative HPLC work. The columns are suitable for any industry that relies on chromatography, including pharmaceutical drug discovery and development, clinical research, forensic toxicology, food safety and quality and environmental analysis. The Kinetex core-shell line is claimed to deliver improved results, increased productivity and easy transferability compared to traditional HPLC/UHPLC media. The 2.6 µm columns offer performance comparable to sub-2 µm fully porous particles on both standard LC and UHPLC systems, but at lower backpressures. The 1.7 µm particle size is designed for use with UHPLC systems and is said to deliver around 20% greater efficiencies than fully porous media. Both particle sizes are directly scalable to each other and to the existing 5 µm size, making method transfer between UHPLC, HPLC and preparative HPLC techniques straightforward. They allow researchers to achieve performance gains on their UHPLC and HPLC instruments while being able to take advantage of high, low and medium pH conditions to influence selectivity. Phenomenex Australia

36 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015

Laboratory gas generator Peak Scientific has introduced the Nitrogen Trace 1000, adding further capability and flexibility to its Precision line of gas generators. The product is designed for GC analysis and can now provide the same ultrahigh-purity output at flows up to 1000 cc/min. It employs pressure swing adsorption technology to remove oxygen and moisture, as well as a catalyst chamber to remove hydrocarbons, to deliver zero nitrogen suitable for sample preparation, GC carrier gas and GC detector gas. The product is housed in a compact, modular, space-saving design, allowing the same laboratory floor space for three gases and an optional air compressor. The system has been designed with durability at its core, with only one consumable part, no requirement to replace the catalyst chamber and just a single filter change once a year. This ensures downtime is kept to an absolute minimum. Peak Scientific Instruments Pty Ltd |

what’s new

Kit for gene expression array target preparation

NIR spectrometer

Affymetrix has introduced the GeneChip WT Pico Kit for gene


expression array target preparation from as little as 100 pg

spectrometer is an

of total RNA input. Working with as few as 10 cells, the kit

ultracompact, light-

offers a high degree of flexibility and precision, enabling

weight near-infrared

analyses of samples too small for other methods as well

(NIR) spectrometer

as the interrogation of small subpopulations of cells within

that combines JD-

larger samples. This is particularly important to the study

SU’s high-volume, high-precision optical coating technology with

of heterogeneous solid tumour samples, haematologic

innovation in optical system design and miniaturisation. The

malignancies and other precious samples.

spectrometer relies on the company’s linear variable filter (LVF)

For use with the Affymetrix GeneChip Whole-Transcriptome


technology as the dispersing element.

(WT) Arrays, the kit is compatible with small-sample isolation

The spectrometer contains a light source, collection optics,

techniques, including flow cytometry, laser capture microdis-

electronics and dispersing element in a housing that is <50 x 50

section and fine needle aspiration. The kit prepares targets

mm. The USB-powered device can be used in diffuse reflection,

from multiple sample types, including fresh and fresh frozen

transmission or transflection modes in a handful of configurations

tissues, cultured cells, FFPE specimens and whole blood

or as a process sensor.

samples without a globin mRNA reduction step. The use

The MicroNIR Pro features an intuitive software interface de-

of a single kit for multiple sample types is said to improve

signed for touch-screen devices. The software features method

the ability to better compare data from different samples.

development and real-time prediction capability for qualitative

The target preparation kit, combined with the GeneChip

or quantitative analysis. Also featured is a complete set of tools

Human Transcriptome Array 2.0 (HTA 2.0) and Transcriptome

enabling 21 CFR Part 11 compliance, USP 119 performance

Analysis Console Software, forms a solution for precise cell

verification, multilevel user management and access, customis-

subset analyses claimed to be impossible with traditional

able workflow, data storage and retrieval, and audit trail viewing.

whole-transcriptome analysis techniques, which require

Data collected with the system is easily exported to the em-

large numbers of cells and typically deliver measurement

bedded calibration development software powered by CAMO

averages. Measurement of all transcript isoforms, including

Software’s The Unscrambler X. Applications include pharmaceutical

long non-coding RNA transcripts, is made possible by the

(PAT), polymer and petrochemical analysis, food and agriculture.

high-resolution microarray-based gene expression profiling

Usage tests have been conducted in fresh seafood, chicken,

solution, which uses more than six million probes covering

raw materials, chemical analysis, narcotics and pharmaceuticals.

over 285,000 coding and non-coding transcripts and inter-

Raymax Applications Pty Ltd

rogates the entire length of each one.

Millennium Science Pty Ltd

arium ultrapure ® |

-every lab deserves it

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 37

what’s new

Disposable coverall To provide a good balance between comfort and performance, limited-life protective clothing should have three key features: good breathability, low thermal resistance and good mechanical strength. The Microgard 2000 disposable coverall features all three, offering protection from limited spray of liquid chemicals without compromising comfort or protection. The product’s two-layer microporous fabric is designed to be highly breathable to avoid heat stress, yet it will withstand saturation of lowhazard liquid chemicals and will filter more than 90% of particulates down to 1 µm in size. Available in white, the coverall features the following: breathable PE laminate fabric; elasticised hood, wrist, waist and ankles; optimised body fit for improved wearer comfort; finger loops to help prevent sleeve movement when working over the head; and bound seams to ensure spray-tight protection. Onboard Solutions

Cell-repellent surface Greiner Bio-One’s surface technology inhibits cell adhesion, making the range suitable for culturing spheroid cultures and stem cell aggregates as well as suspension culture of semi-adherent and adherent cell lines. Tested cell lines for the stem cell aggregate formation include mES-D3 and human iPSCs. Tested cell lines for spheroid culture include HeLa, HepG2, LNCaP and HEK-293. Other tested cell lines include Vero, MDCKII, CaCo-2, CHO and STO-DA. With non-leachable properties, the range is available as culture dishes (three sizes) and in 6-, 24-, 48-, 96- and 384-well plate formats. All items have a two-year shelf life and are non-cytotoxic, nonpyrogenic and free of detectable DNase, RNase and human DNA. Interpath Services Pty Ltd

Biological safety cabinet The Euroclone S@feflow 2 Biological Safety Cabinet is said to ensure protection for the operator, as required by AS 2252.2 and international standards. A mix of plastic and steel elements creates a soft-looking cabinet, with the curved design helping to reduce the bulkiness of standard cabinet design and enhance cleanability for use within GMP zones. The product has been designed to keep the user safe, even during routine maintenance operations like cleaning the front glass. With the lower edge tilting system, the front glass tilts forward allowing access for cleaning purposes from above, eliminating the risk of exposure to detergent or contaminants. During the procedure the motor blower(s) remains in operation, providing a high level of containment to avoid unnecessary exposure. The cabinet’s partial double skin, with lateral windows, provides added security. A return air barrier is offered in almost a 360° profile while the side windows remain. By removing the plastic elements, the low-profile units can reach an overall depth of 79 cm. The cabinets will support two available light sources: fluorescent lamps or LEDs. Both sources may be dimmed, allowing users to decide which light intensity best suits their personal requirements. The lights are placed above a diffusing membrane, which gives the illuminance a soft and uniform appearance to reduce eye fatigue when working. The cabinets are controlled by a full-colour touch screen, which allows the use of high-definition graphics for icons and status monitoring. The inclined position of the screen allows the operator an optimal view of the operational status. The systems are also expandable, allowing for easy updating and implementation of new features/apps in the future. By selecting ECO Mode, the product will partially lower the front glass in order to reduce the inward air velocity across the front aperture. It does this while keeping both the work area and the operator safe and saving energy. This is suitable when leaving the cabinet in operation during incubations or when switching between different users. LAF Technologies Pty Ltd

38 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

what’s new

Particle size and count analyser The POLA 2000 is a portable particle size and count analyser manufactured by Particle & Surface Sciences (PsS). The versatile, simpleto-use system features its own carry handle, a laptop computer and Windows software. The system is suitable for aqueous fluids, used oils, powders and biological products for research and industrial organisations. It comes in two configurations. The particle size analyser has a size range of 0.5 to 350 Âľm, with up to 1000 user-selectable size channels. Results can be displayed by both population and volume in either graphical or tabular formats. The product is calibrated with NIST traceable latex standards. The particle count analyser is calibrated to ISO11171 Reporting (ISO4406) or SAE AS4059 Standard for Hydraulic Fluids. It features a constant pump speed, regardless of viscosity, and the resolution can be selected by the user. Users are welcome to contact PsS for no-obligation technical advice on their particular applications. The company also has an analytical laboratory, should users wish to send in their samples for analysis on the system. Particle & Surface Sciences Pty Ltd |

Bench-scale bioprocess control station The BioFlo 320 is a bioprocess control station designed as a universal platform. Features include autoclavable and single-use vessel flexibility, intelligent sensors and IP network communication for multi-unit control. Suitable for microbial and cell culture, scale-up to scale-down, batch, fed-batch and continuous processes, the product can meet the ever-changing needs of all segments of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. It is said to offer flexibility, control and functionality while occupying a fraction of the lab space of similar systems. Eppendorf South Pacific Pty Ltd

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 39

Microscopy and mobile phones

40 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |


people with high blood levels of Loa microfilariae,

The functions of the traditional light microscope are being augmented by the mobile phone.

the filarial worm’s larval form. A potential solution is to identify and exclude such people from mass drug administration. However, standard methods for measuring microfilariae are time consuming and must be performed by trained personnel with laboratory equipment. To rapidly screen for Loa infections in community settings, the scientists developed CellScope Loa, a video microscope integrating an Apple iPhone 5s. CellScope Loa pairs a smartphone with a 3D-printed plastic base where the sample of blood is positioned. The base includes LED lights, microcontrollers, gears, circuitry and a USB port.


odern technology is turning the

cameras of mobile phones into high-quality light microscopes with the added benefits of automation and wireless communication, facilitating remotearea point-of-care diagnoses and enhancing classroom education.

Mobile phone video microscope detects parasitic worms Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the University of California Berkeley and colleagues have developed a mobile phone microscope to measure blood levels of the parasitic filarial worm Loa loa. The point-of-care device may enable safe resumption of mass drug administration campaigns to eradicate the parasitic diseases onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). Efforts to eliminate these diseases in Central Africa through community-wide administration of antiparasitic drugs have been suspended due to potentially fatal drug-associated side effects in

Control of the device is automated through an app the researchers developed for this purpose. With a single touch of the screen by the healthcare worker, the phone communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth to controllers in the base to process and analyse the sample of blood. Gears move the sample in front of the camera and an algorithm automatically analyses the telltale ‘wriggling’ motion of the worms in video captured by the phone. The worm count is then displayed on the screen. The researchers found that using motion instead of molecular markers or fluorescent stains to detect the movement of worms was as accurate as conventional screening methods. The procedure takes about two minutes or less, starting from the time the sample is inserted to the display of the results. Pricking a finger and loading the blood onto the capillary adds an additional minute to the time. No special preparation of the blood is required, limiting potential error and sample loss, and healthcare workers need minimal training to use the automated device. Screening of blood samples from potentially Loa-infected people under field conditions in Cameroon, Africa, showed that CellScope Loa results correspond well to those obtained by standard methods, correctly identifying people with microfilarial levels over a certain threshold. Although additional work is needed to prepare the technology for broad use, the researchers predict that a team of three workers could screen up to 200 people during the four-hour midday window when

© shotsstudio/Dollar Photo Club

Loa circulates at its peak in the blood.

Turn your smartphone into a DNAscanning fluorescent microscope Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have recently developed a device Loiasis eyeworm ( |

that can turn any smartphone into a DNA-scanning

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 41


cancers and nervous system disorders, as well as to detect drug resistance in infectious diseases. To use the camera, it is necessary to first isolate and label the desired DNA with fluorescent tags. Ozcan says such laboratory procedures are possible even in remote locations and resource-limited settings. To scan the DNA, the group developed a computational interface and Windows smart application running on the same smartphone. The scanned information is then sent to a remote server in Ozcan’s laboratory, which measures the length of the DNA molecules. Assuming you have a reliable data connection, the entire data processing takes less than 10 seconds. In their lab, Ozcan’s group tested the device’s accuracy by imaging fluorescently labelled and stretched DNA segments. It reliably sized DNA segments of 10,000 base pairs or longer. Many important genes fall in this size range - including a bacterial gene notorious for giving Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria antibiotic resistance,

3D illustration of the smartphone opto-mechanical attachment. (Image credit: Ozcan Group at UCLA.)

which is about 14,000 base pairs long. The smartphone microscope demonstrated a significant drop in accuracy for 5000 base-pair or shorter segments, however, due to the reduced detection signal-to-noise ratio and contrast for

fluorescent microscope that can image and size

Enter Ozcan’s smartphone attachment - an

such short fragments. The problem could easily be

DNA molecules 50,000 times thinner than a

external lens, a thin-film interference filter, a

remedied by replacing the device’s current lens with

human hair.

miniature dovetail stage mount for making fine

one of a higher numerical aperture, Ozcan said.

“A single DNA molecule, once stretched, is

alignments and a laser diode, all enclosed in a

In addition to its use in point-of-care

about two nanometres in width,” said Aydogan

small, 3D-printed case and integrated to act just

diagnostics, Ozcan proposes that his platform

Ozcan, HHMI Chancellor Professor, UCLA. “For

like a fluorescence microscope.

could also be useful for differentiating high-

perspective, that makes DNA about 50,000 times

Although other smartphone-turned-

molecular-weight DNA fragments, which are

thinner than a human hair. Currently, imaging

microscopes can image larger scale objects such

problematic for conventional gel electrophoresis

single DNA molecules requires bulky, expensive

as cells, Ozcan’s group’s latest mobile phone optical

- a frequently used technique in biochemistry

optical microscopy tools, which are mostly confined

attachment is the first to image and size the slim

and molecular biology to size DNA and RNA

to advanced laboratory settings. In comparison,

strand of a single DNA molecule.

fragments. Ozcan’s group next plans to test their

the components for my device are significantly less expensive.”

42 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015

The device is intended for use in remote laboratory settings to diagnose various types of

device in the field to detect the presence of malariarelated drug resistance. |

what’s new

Triple quadrupole mass spectrometer The Shimadzu LCMS-8060 triple quadrupole mass spectrometer is designed to push the limits of LC/MS/MS quantitation for applications requiring high sensitivity and robustness, delivering a solution for routine LC/MS/MS analyses. It is part of the Shimadzu mass spectrometry platform of MS/ MS systems with ultrafast technologies. With UF Qarray ion guide technology increasing ion production and signal intensity, the product is said to enable users to work better and faster. It features a data acquisition scan speed of 30,000 µs and a polarity switching time of 5 ms. Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Oceania) Pty Ltd

Reprogramming bundle for the generation of hiPSCs from PBMCs Lonza has released the latest addition to its L7 hPSC System for the generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and the maintenance of stem cells from a variety of sources. The L7 PBMC Reprogramming Bundle enables researchers to reprogram peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) for use in downstream experiments. Because of its series of reagents and protocols optimised for working with PBMCs, the bundle makes it easy and fast to generate hiPSCs. The L7 hPSC System offers a complete workflow that combines primary cells, reprogramming kits, transfection tools and culturing media, along with a matrix, passaging solution and cryosolution. It streamlines the reprogramming of somatic cells to generate hiPSCs, as well as supporting the ongoing maintenance and utilisation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and hiPSCs. The bundle contains a number of components, including the L7 PBMC Priming-Recovery Kit, which primes PBMCs prior to reprogramming and provides optimal recovery of the hiPSCs following the delivery of reprogramming vectors using Lonza’s 4D-Nucleofector technology. The bundle also contains PBMC-specific reprogramming enhancers for high-quality results. The company also offers a source of human PBMCs for researchers to use as a positive control donor during their reprogramming experiments. Once the PBMCs have undergone the reprogramming process, they are cultured and expanded using the L7 hPSC Culture System, which includes the L7 hPSC Matrix, Basal Medium and Supplement. To assist with passaging these cells, the L7 hPSC Passaging Solution offers non-enzymatic cell detachment, without the need for mechanical manipulation. This method has been formulated to protect valuable cell lines. The L7 hPSC Cryosolution enables the efficient recovery of frozen cells after storage. The L7 System is xeno-free, fully defined and said to support the long-term culture and


instruments The right chemistry.

pluripotency of PSCs. The hiPSCs created using the bundle can differentiate into all three germ layers and are ready for use across a range of applications, from basic research and disease modelling through to drug development and regenerative medicine. Lonza Australia Pty Ltd |

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 43

encapsulation Lauren Davis

Protective capsule inspired by seashells Scientists from CSIRO, The University of Adelaide and the Australian Synchrotron have developed a protective capsule which is said to preserve the active biological ingredients needed to create new drugs. The team was inspired by biomineralisation - the process by which organisms such as sea urchins produce minerals to harden or stiffen existing tissues.

44 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015


horseradish peroxidase protected within a metalorganic framework shell are found to retain bioactivity after being treated at 80°C and boiled in dimethylformamide (153°C), respectively,”

SIRO lead researcher Dr Kang Liang

they said.

explained that living organisms are made up of

The new shell could therefore hold the key to

fragile proteins whose function “alters or perishes

cost-effectively preserving and extending the shelf

when exposed to heat, pressure and pollutants”. Just

life of vaccines in extreme temperatures without

as a sea urchin’s outer shell supports and protects its

refrigeration, benefiting health care in developing

fragile body, he said, “we’ve come up with a porous

countries. CSIRO research team leader Dr Paolo

shell that grows around important proteins such as

Falcaro said the shell could “protect a vaccine vial

enzymes to protect them on the inside”.

for only a few dollars and, at a commercial scale,

Writing in the journal Nature Communications,

we would work to make it even cheaper”.

the researchers said they have provided

Dr Falcaro said the researchers are now seeking

“unprecedented protection of biomacromolecules

industry partners to develop the technology

by encapsulating them within a class of porous

for applications including pharmaceuticals,

materials termed metal-organic frameworks”

manufacturing, chemical and food processing,

(MOFs). These extremely porous materials have

water decontamination and screening for genetic

a flexible and customisable cage-like structure,

disease. It could also lead to improved consumer

with tiny, pore-like holes which are “designed to

products; for example, shell-encapsulated enzymes

capture, trap or release specific biomolecules”,

in laundry powder would enhance the powder’s

according to Dr Liang.


The researchers revealed that macromolecules

“Our shell offers a low-cost solution to

protected under their method were stable under

protecting proteins for making and enhancing drugs

conditions that would normally result in their

and other products where sensitivity has long been

decomposition. “For example, urease and

an issue,” Dr Liang concluded. |

what’s new

Stereo microscopes

Pre-moistened swabs



When screening the production environment

nounced the addition

for total counts, coliforms or pathogens, micro-


of the SMZ1270 and

biological swabbing is still the gold standard.

SMZ800N to its range

Dry-tipped swabs need to be moistened manually

of stereo microscopes.

by the operator prior to taking a sample to ensure

The systems feature

any microorganisms are able to be effectively picked

an expanded zoom

up. This usually means carrying around a saline bot-

ratio, enhanced ease

tle, which is cumbersome, inconvenient and prone to

of operation and good optical performance.


Paired with the company’s latest WF objectives, the

To overcome this, the Pre-Moist Hygiene Swab from

models offer high chromatic aberration correction for

TSC UK is now available. The swab contains enough

bright, sharp images across a large field of view and a

diluent to moisten the tip for the user’s convenience and

good zoom ratio. They are suitable for use across a wide range of biological, medical and industrial applications. The products are said to offer highly refined performance

comes in its own self-sealing tube. The user can simply take the swab sample and return it to the tube ready for immediate testing or transport to an external laboratory.

over basic parallel-optics stereo models, building on the

The diluent used is a neutralising buffer which prevents

reputation of the Nikon SMZ800/1000. They also incorporate

inhibition of growth by sanitisers that can also be picked up

an extensive line-up of accessories that support a variety

during swabbing. The product complies with ISO18593 and

of applications.

is available in a pack of 160 swabs.

Coherent Scientific Pty Ltd

Australasian Medical & Scientific Ltd

Based in Japan, Advantec have manufactured products for filtration since 1916. They offer a complete range of filtration media and filtration systems ranging from laboratory to industrial use.

Capsules & Cartridges

Filter Paper

Membrane Filters

Syringe Filters

Test Strips

Vacuum & Pressure Filtration Proudly Supplied by

Labtek Pty Ltd

Ph. 1300 881 318 Fx. 1300 881 513 |

PO Box 5316 Brendale Q 4500 E. W. Brisbane • Sydney • Melbourne

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 45

Lauren Davis

The sky’s the limit

Construction approved for the Giant Magellan Telescope

46 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |


June 2015 marked a major milestone in the field of astronomy, with construction approval announced for the highly anticipated Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Unanimously approved by 11 collaborating institutions, including the Australian National University (ANU) and Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL), the GMT will be the biggest optical telescope in the world.


endy Freedman, the chair of the

Observatory Mirror Lab. In a year-long process, each mirror is melted in a giant oven and spun into the rough shape it needs to be. Once it is cool enough to take out of the oven, it is ready for three years of surface generation and polishing.

Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO)

The process has been particularly challenging

board of directors, said the project was originally

for the GMT mirrors, explained Professor Zaritsky,

announced in 2003 as the brainchild of a small

because the team usually creates telescope mirrors

group of US institutions. Since then it has grown

which are “centred in the telescope, so they’re

to a US$1 billion international collaboration, with

symmetrical”. But the GMT mirrors are “all over

partners in Australia (following a $93 million

the place”, he said, so they have “a very off-centre

contribution from the Australian Government),


Brazil, the US, the Republic of Korea and Chile, where the telescope will be hosted. The GMT aims to be the first of the new generation of extremely large telescopes. With an

“Basically, anywhere you’re at, polishing the mirror has a different shape to anywhere else, and so the polisher has to keep adjusting and know exactly where it is on the mirror.”

optical surface of around 25 metres, it will focus

Australia will also be making a contribution

more than six times the amount of light of the

to the telescope’s construction, with the ANU

current largest telescopes into images up to 10 times

Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics

sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope

(RSAA) charged with designing and building the

(HST). This will enable astronomers to observe

GMT Integral Field Spectograph. This will record

extremely distant and ancient galaxies whose light

spectra from each point across the field of view

has been travelling to Earth since just after the Big

simultaneously, taking advantage of the telescope’s

Bang, 13.8 billion years ago.

light-collecting power and high resolution.

“Every photon is precious, particularly so

“If we have a spectrograph on it, we can spread

when you’re trying to look at the very distant

out the light of an object into a rainbow and analyse

reaches of the universe,” explained Dr Kim-Vy

the velocities and the composition,” said Dr Kevin

Tran from Texas A&M University. “You have to

Krisciunas from Texas A&M University.

remember that these photons have been travelling

ANU instrument scientists will also develop

for billions of years, so by the time they get to your

and build key elements of the crucial adaptive

telescope, there are precious few of them. The

optics system for the GMT. Adaptive optics removes

larger the telescope, the more photons you can

distortions in images, such as twinkling stars, caused

collect. The more photons you can collect, the

by turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere.

more information you can get.”

“We have to make this optic precise enough

Professor Dennis Zaritsky, from the University

so that when the light travels 5, 10 billion light

of Arizona, said the current largest telescope

years, and comes in and hits our telescope, we

corresponds to a piece of glass that’s about 11

don’t scramble and lose that information that’s

metres. The GMT, on the other hand, will comprise

travelled so long,” said GMT Director Dr Patrick

seven mirrors — each of which contains 17 tonnes

McCarthy. “We have to make these large optics to

of glass — that will be the equivalent of one

a 20th of a wavelength of light, even though it’s 25

25-metre-sized mirror.

metres across. It’s a challenge of about one part in

The creation of these mirrors is being carried out at the University of Arizona’s Steward |

10 billion in terms of precision manufacturing, so it’s an extraordinarily challenging process.”

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 47


The telescope will be based at the Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert — one of the highest and driest locations on Earth — where it will experience clear skies for more than 300 nights a year. There, it will be housed in a 22-storey building which “has to rotate to allow you to move to different parts of the sky as you’re looking out with the telescope”, said Freedman. Additionally, noted Dr Robert Kirschner from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the ground-based telescope has the advantage of being able to have its instruments easily upgraded. “So I think that even when we build the telescope, that won’t be its final form,” he said. “Those instruments will eventually be replaced by better ones that use the technology that’s developed over the period from now to then.” Once fully operational in 2024, the GMT will be used for everything from understanding how the first stars and galaxies formed, to searching for new planets, to measuring the masses of distant black

So I expect that, as we sleuth along trying to solve the mysteries that we can see, we’ll bump into new things.

holes, to discovering the nature of dark matter. According to Freedman, “We will witness, directly, the first galaxies forming, the first supernovae forming, the first black holes forming, and see how

characterisation of other planets, with its large

bursters, the neutron stars, things that we haven’t

the universe that we’re living in now… came to be.”

collecting area meaning “you gather information

discovered yet… that’s where we’ll stumble upon

very rapidly”.

these new discoveries.

“The GMT will play a leading role in the international race to identify planets orbiting stars

But perhaps the most exciting aspect of the

“Neutron stars were discovered almost by

near the Sun that could host life and potentially

GMT is the possibility of new discoveries of which

accident,” he said. “A whole host of phenomenon

reveal the signatures of biological processes,”

we haven’t yet conceived, some of which will be

were discovered when we could first look into the

said AAL representative Professor Chris Tinney.

enabled by the development of new instrumentation

infrared. So I expect that, as we sleuth along trying

Dr Kirschner added that the massive size of the

in the future. According to Dr McCarthy, “As we try

to solve the mysteries that we can see, we’ll bump

GMT would be particularly advantageous for the

to track down the mystery objects, the gamma ray

into new things.”

Robot-assisted surface analysis system Scientex and Kruss have announced the Large Surface Analyser (LSA) - a fully automated wetting analyser for large samples that produces fast, contactless, easy-to-program measurement sequences for quality assurance applications. The product comes in various sizes that measure samples up to 9 m 2. In combination with the Mobile Surface Analyser (MSA), the LSA positioning robot system performs fast contact angle and surface free energy (SFE) measurement at freely defined positions on large samples. The MSA, with its ability to take measurements in less than 1 s, is a fast mobile instrument for determining SFE with two test liquids. The product uses a sophisticated noncontact pressure dosing system that places two drops on the sample, followed by an automatic image analysis of each drop for contact angle and SFE calculation. The robot-assisted surface analysis system is well suited to quality assurance applications, such as pre-treatment and coating of large components, cleaning and coating of glass surfaces and wetting analyses on printing plates. Scientex Pty Ltd

48 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 |

what’s new

Gas mixer with remote control The Witt-Gasetechnik KM100-MEM+ mixing system, for up to three gases, uses electroni-

Eicosanoids ELISA kits When inflammation is left unchecked, it can

cally actuated valves and

cease to be a beneficial event and contribute

features a gas mixture

to the pathogenesis of numerous diseases.

setting that is claimed to be very precise in comparison to manual settings.

Molecules in the arachidonic acid enzyme

The target values can be reproduced exactly, even after changes in use.

cascade play a number of important biologi-

It takes around 1 s to get the gas mixture flowing no matter which tar-

cal roles, both normal and pathological. The

get values are set. The product provides the option of remote control via

derivatives of arachidonic acid, also known

processor technology and electronic motor-operated mixing valves. It can

as eicosanoids, are a group of biologically

be driven via PC, PLC or a machine control system.

active oxygenated unsaturated fatty acids.

All parameters can be called up, set, queried and documented, mean-

They include prostaglandins, thromboxanes,

ing the mixer can be integrated seamlessly into any of the user’s existing

leukotrienes, hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids

infrastructure. A touch-screen display enables the user to check the current

(HETEs) and lipoxins. Eicosanoids have

settings or change the device parameters.

been shown to enhance as well as attenuate

The gas mixture can be set in increments of 0.1% and well maintained. At its maximum 20 bar inlet pressure and 10 bar outlet pressure, the system

inflammation, and have also been linked to carcinogenesis.

generates a gas mixture output of up to 544 NL/min (air equivalent). All

Enzo Life Sciences offers Eicosanoids

technical gases (apart from toxic and corrosive gases) and combinations

ELISAs for direct measurement of LTB4,

of combustion gas with air, O2 or N2O can be blended, including mixtures

PGE2 and TXB2 for use in a number of

of up to three gases.

sample types including mucosa, tissue,

In conjunction with a gas tank, the mixer is suitable for both continuous

serum, plasma, urine and much more. Cited

and batch gas blending. Pressure is controlled using dome pressure regula-

in peer-reviewed literature, the ELISAs offer

tors that compensate for any fluctuations in the gas supply pressure. The

ultrasensitive measurement at the pg level.

integral gas inlet monitoring system emits an alarm and/or alarm signal if

The dynamic range of assays is suitable

the pressure is too low. The device can be combined with other modules,

for a large variety of samples. They come in

such as online analysers.

a high-throughput format with fully quantita-

The product is enclosed in a splash-proof stainless steel housing with

tive results, said to surpass semi-quantitative

compact dimensions of 330 x 485 x 445 mm. It weighs 22 kg.

Western blot analysis, in 3-4 h.

Niche Gas Products

United Bioresearch Products Pty Ltd

IVD made simple. The 6624 TwinPower: So much cleverness in such a small space. More minimum – hardly possible. We make ideas flow. |

LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015 | 49

48th Annual AIFST Convention & the 15th Australian Food Microbiology Conference 11-13 August 2015, Sydney This year the 48th Annual AIFST Convention will be co-located with the Australian Food Microbiology Conference, bringing together professionals from all sectors of the Australian food and allied industries. The three-day scientific program will have an emphasis on ‘food for all’ and will cover the big ideas and latest thinking on Australia’s role in catering for the growing population of the world. Attendees will have access to interactive workshops on food labelling, verification and validation of shelf life, as well as an all-day workshop for food industry entrepreneurs.

© monticellllo/Dollar Photo Club


A.B.N. 22 152 305 336 Head Office Cnr. Fox Valley Road & Kiogle Street, (Locked Bag 1289) Wahroonga NSW 2076 Ph: +61 2 9487 2700 Fax: +61 2 9489 1265 Chief Editor Janette Woodhouse Contributing Editor Susan Williamson Assistant Editor Lauren Davis Publisher Geoff Hird Art Director/Production Manager Julie Wright Art Production Tanya Barac, Odette Boulton

48th Annual AIFST Convention & the 15th Australian Food Microbiology Conference 11-13 August 2015, Sydney ESA Clinical Weekend 21-23 August 2015, Adelaide ESA-SRB 2015, ASM 23-26 August 2015, Adelaide

BioProcessing Network Conference 2015 21-22 September 2015, Te Papa CIM 2015: International Congress of Metrology 21-24 September 2015, Paris BacPath 13: Molecular Analysis of Bacterial Pathogens Conference 27-30 September 2015, Phillip Island, Victoria

Circulation Manager Sue Lavery Copy Control Mitchie Mullins Advertising Sales National Sales Manager Nicola Fender-Fox Ph: 0414 703 780 NSW, QLD Liz Wilson Ph: 0403 528 558

25th ISN-APSN Biennial Meeting 23-27 August 2015, Cairns

ComBio 2015 27 September - 01 October 2015, Melbourne

ENSA 24 August 2015, Adelaide

AGTA Conference 2015 11-14 October 2015, Hunter Valley, NSW

Asia Lachlan Rainey Ph: +61 (0) 402 157 167

ADS-ADEA ASM 2015 26-28 August 2015, Adelaide

TEMTIA-VII 2015 11-14 October 2015, Melbourne

If you have any queries regarding our privacy policy please email

ADIPS ASM 2015 28-29 August 2015, Adelaide

The Australasian Bioenergy & Bioproducts Symposium 2015 (TABBS) 12 October 2015, Brisbane

Agricultural Bioscience International Conference (ABIC) 2015 7-9 September 2015, Melbourne 65th Australasian Grain Science Conference 16-18 September 2015, Sydney 7th International Conference on Relaxin and Related Peptides 20-24 September, 2015, Malaysia

VIC, SA Sandra Romanin Ph: 0414 558 464

Thermo Scientific Laboratory Informatics Symposium 2015 13-16 October 2015, Gold Coast ap.aspx?EID=LIS241E&OID=50

Printed and bound by SOS Print+Media Print Post Approved PP100008671

5th Annual Conference Association of Biosafety for Australia & New Zealand 9 - 13 November 2015, Canberra absanz-5th-annual-conference/home

Tell the world about your event: email

50 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - July 2015

March 2015 Total CAB Audited Circulation 7937

ISSN No. 2203-773X All material published in this magazine is published in good faith and every care is taken to accurately relay information provided to us. Readers are advised by the publishers to ensure that all necessary safety devices and precautions are installed and safe working procedures adopted before the use of any equipment found or purchased through the information we provide. Further, all performance criteria was provided by the representative company concerned and any dispute should be referred to them. Information indicating that products are made in Australia or New Zealand is supplied by the source company. Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd does not quantify the amount of local content or the accuracy of the statement made by the source. |






Wrapper number: (if known)





[select one from lists to the right>]



OPTIONS I WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE THIS MAGAZINE [ ]DIGITAL [ ]PRINT [ ]BOTH I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO RECEIVE THE LABONLINE E-NEWSLETTER [ ] I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO RECEIVE THE LIFESCIENTIST E-NEWSLETTER [ ] † For qualified industry professionals outside Australia, the digital magazine and eNewsletters are available FREE of charge. If you would like the print magazine, contact for subscription prices in your region.


(please choose one only) 1 Agriculture/Rural 47 Biotech 3 Chemicals/Allied Products 40 Cleaning 50 Consulting/Contracting 5 Defence/Military 6 Education/Training 8 Engineering Services 9 Environmental Services 10 Finance/Banking/Insurance/Legal 11 Food - Bakery 12 Food - Beverages 13 Food - Confectionary 14 Food - Dairy 15 Food - Fruit & Vegetables 16 Food - Meat 17 Government 20 Health/Medical 43 Information Technology 21 Instrumentalities (eg CSIRO) 26 Laboratory - Analytical 27 Laboratory - Clinical/Medical 28 Laboratory - Life Sciences 29 Logistics/Transport/Warehouse 30 Manufacturing 31 Mining 32 Oil/Gas/Coal 48 Pharma/BioPharma 34 Processing 35 Retail/Wholesale/Hire 36 Service/Maintenance 38 Testing/Certification (eg NATA) 39 Utilities


(please choose one only) 1 Under 100 2 100 – 250 3 251 – 500 4 Over 500


If you live in Australia† and your job title matches those on this form, we will deliver you 8 complimentary issues a year!


(please choose one only) 1 Management - Director/C-level 2 Management - Specialist 18 Analyst/Researcher 20 Business Owner 13 Consultant 14 Contractor/Tradesperson 16 Education/Training 3 Engineer - Electrical 15 OHS/EHS 22 Postgrad Student 7 Purchasing/Procurement 19 Sales/Marketing 12 Scientific Officer - QA 11 Scientific Officer - R&D 23 Scientist 17 Student - Undergrad/Apprentice 10 Technical Officer 9 Technician - IT 8 Technician - Maintenance/Service

There’s only one Amicon® filter. Don’t be fooled.

• Centrifugal ultrafilters are posing as high-quality Amicon® Ultra filters, but are rather thinly disguised. • These filters may exhibit imprecise analyte separation and poor device integrity. • Victims report poor protein yield and difficulties with downstream analysis.

Avg. α-Chymotrypsinogen A Recovery (%)


10 kDa Amicon® Ultra 4 Filter vs. 10 kDa Competitor V Filter 100%




60% 40% 20% 0%


87% Amicon® Ultra 4 10 kDa

Competitor B 10 kDa Retenate

Don’t be fooled – Merck Millipore’s history of membrane technology and filter device engineering is unmatched.

Merck Millipore is a business of

Merck Millipore, the M logo and Amicon are registered trademarks of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.


Competitor B 10 kDa filter has <50% recovery of 25 kDa protein.

Contact Merck Millipore: Australia: 1800 335 571 New Zealand: 0800 463 725